Zahra Barri

Zahra Barri

The Joys of NOT Being a Perfectionist

It’s become the millennial humblebrag alongside, “I’m a people pleaser” and “I suffer from imposter syndrome”. But being a perfectionist is a massive pain in the bum, albeit also the number one thing to say in a job interview when asked what your biggest flaw is. That’s why I’ve always prided myself on not being one because, while it did once cost a TV company I worked for over £14,000 in Ofcom fees, it has mostly only caused me joy.

Now, I do realise it takes a certain amount of skill to reject the urge to perfect. A lot of perfectionists say to me, “I can’t! I have too much pride!” What I say to them is this:

“Pride is ego – get rid of it!” 

Instead, I encourage them to envelop a new philosophy; The ‘That’ll Do’ approach to life.

I’ve taken the time (not too much time, obvs) to conduct a list of the ways I’ve incorporated my anti-perfectionist principle into all aspects of my life.* I do so in the hope that this will inspire others to do the same. For I have a dream that one day we will not be judged on the cleanliness of our houses or the ability to write coherent and fast responding emails but on the zero fucks we give. 

Straightening the back of my hair:

A friend once said to me, “Your hair looks great but you haven’t straightened the back of it, it’s like a bird’s nest and not in a cool Russell Brand circa 2004 way.”

Obviously I have now unfriended this friend as they simply did not understand my philosophy. Top rule on not being a perfectionist: if you can’t see it, who cares?!

Bikini Waxes

I really tried to not have a single hair poking through my ridiculously flimsy Topshop string bikini, so as not to scare small children, but I’m Arab. I say I let it all hang out as a FU to The Patriarchy but it’s really because I simply cannot be fucked. 

Washing my hair

I joined the ‘No ‘Poo’ campaign during Lockdown one and only rinse my hair in aloe vera juice every two weeks. Grease is largely controlled by your hormones. Menstruation can make it look like my sebaceous glands have exploded, but for the three weeks of the month where it looks fine, it’s a small price to pay. More, “It’s Worth It” than “Because I’m Worth It”, if you will. 


Occasionally I will text something like:

Three more boners left at work

Instead of 

Three more hours left at work

Who doesn’t want to receive more boners?


One of the best things I ever did was send a very un-edited novel to the Comedy Women in Print competition. If I was a perfectionist I would never have done this. No one was more surprised than me when my lackadaisical nature resulted in placing as Runner Up for the Unpublished Prize in 2020!

Not being a perfectionist means you’re constantly showcasing your potential. Giving them a glimpse of promise, for them to imagine the rest. And who doesn’t love to use their imagination? 

Embrace the mantra: “That’ll Do!”- the rest of the world can make up the rest.

*mostly hair related.

For more words of wisdom follow Zahra on Twitter @zahrabarri1

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