Perfectionism is the persistence of will in obtaining the optimal quality of spiritual, mental, physical, and material being. The perfectionist does not believe that one can attain a perfect life or state of living. Rather, a perfectionist practices steadfast perseverance in obtaining the best possible life or state of living.
There are no universal parameters of perfection. Individuals and cultures choose those values that, for them, represent the ideal of perfection. For example, one individual may view education as leading perfection, while to another beauty is the highest ideal.
The idea of perfectionism is that there is an unattained but attainable self that one can strive to reach. Perfectionists believe that the ancient question of living as one is supposed to make all the difference in the world, and they describe a commitment in ways that seem, but are not, impossibly demanding. They do so because it is only in keeping such an impossible view in mind that one can strive for one’s unattained but attainable self.
Certain properties constitute human nature or are definitive of humanity. They make humans human. A good life develops these properties to a high degree and realizes what is central to human nature. Different versions of the theory may disagree about what the relevant properties are and so disagree about the content of a good life. But they share the foundational idea that what is good, ultimately, is the development of human nature.