Thomas Curran

Best-selling Author, "The Perfection Trap"
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Dr Thomas Curran is the world's leading expert on perfectionism, author of the best-selling book The Perfection Trap, and acclaimed professor of psychology at the London School of Economics.

His TED Talk on perfectionism received over three million views, he has written for major international publications such as TIME magazine and the Harvard Business Review, and his work has been featured in the BBC, New Scientist, New York Times, CNN, and Wall Street Journal.

Through extensive research, public speaking, consulting services, and academic instruction, Thomas is leading the global conversation on perfectionism. His mission? To uncover:

  • The root of perfectionism,
  • What it does to us,
  • Why it's on the rise,
  • And what we can do to stop it.
As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, Dr Thomas Curran is fighting against the modern-day growth imperative of 'do more, have more' and instead brings realism to the table, teaching us that the unrelenting treadmill of perfectionism is not only burning us out but ultimately destructive for our happiness and performances.


The Perfectionism Paradox

In theory, perfectionists are committed to excellence, meticulous, hard-working, and take immense pride in their work. In reality, perfectionists are overworked, chronically burned out, self-sabotaging, and perpetually dissatisfied with their accomplishments. Not only do they suffer, their work suffers as well. Their workload overwhelms them because they struggle to delegate. Innovation is stifled because they’re too scared of failure to take risks and try new things. Procrastination becomes a coping mechanism for the anxiety that comes when facing challenging tasks. In this presentation, Thomas Curran outlines the many ways that perfectionism itself is the hurdle preventing us from doing our best work. With illuminating case studies and evidence-based strategies, he offers eye-opening insights into how letting go of the need for perfection can paradoxically unlock higher performance and greater fulfillment in our lives and careers.

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Perfectionism: Truths and Myths

In this session, Thomas Curran explores the science of perfectionism. Although an often-glamorized trait, research shows that it can in fact lead to mental health difficulties, reduced accomplishment, and burnout. He explains how perfectionism is not about pursuing excellence but about compensating for feeling of not being enough, which result in worry, anxiety, and procrastination due to paralysing fears of failure. All of which hinder innovation and productivity as people recoil from making mistakes, and experience strained relationships from the fear of receiving critical feedback.
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Combatting Self-Criticism

In this talk, Thomas Curran will describe how self-criticism erodes morale and diminishes self-confidence. With illuminating case studies and cutting-edge research, he will show how perfectionism leads to the habituation of negative self-beliefs, which contaminates motivation and hinders personal growth. He will introduce the latest work on cultivating self-compassion and practicing gratitude, which can help people combat self-criticism, fostering a kinder outlook on work (and life) and enhancing overall well-being.
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In this talk, Thomas Curran will show how impostersim (vis-a-vis imposter syndrome) manifests as a persistent feeling of inadequacy despite evidence of success, causing individuals to constantly doubt their achievements and abilities. He will explain perfectionism’s close relationship with imposterism and how the two conspire to undermine confidence and professional advancement. Overcoming imposter syndrome involves acknowledging one's accomplishments, seeking support from others, and reframing negative self-perceptions to embrace personal achievements with confidence. Using scientifically validated strategies, he will outline how to put these changes into practice.
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Our dangerous obesssion with perfectionism is getting worse
Thomas Curran
Unpacking the perfectionism trait
Thomas Curran
The Perfection Trap: Why Perfectionism Is Your Enemy
Thomas Curran


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Perfectionists Need to Embrace Failure
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The rise of perfectionism—and the harm it's doing us all
The Guardian
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Perfectionism Is Increasing, and That's Not Good News
Harvard Business News



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