Perfection is the Enemy of Good Enough

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BLUF: By redefining and acting on your “Good Enough”, opportunities to learn and achieve success will be more readily available compared to those who only seek to achieve Perfection. 

  • The pursuit, not necessarily the achievement, of perfection can be monumental in improving your state of mind.
  • Performing Good Enough (still based on maximum effort) can still move you forward towards your goals and excellence.

Small victories of Good Enough (GE) efforts can leap you towards a more positive outlook on any situation. If you believe there are no losses, only learning experiences, you’ll understand that putting forth GE efforts are both satisfying and gratifying. By having the courage to step up and lead a project or team, you will be in the position to bring your vision to reality and continue to hone your abilities. One must be careful in making sure GE still equates to maximum effort. This means putting forth the required amount of energy to know that you the effort/product put forward is an accurate reflection of your maximum effort. Your maximum effort is shaped by your amount of experience, so be sure to seek help and guidance as required. Your name is already signed up as the lead, so you will earn the good or bad credit regardless, but building networks and relationships can be great side effect that will still be intact after the work is done. The state of perfection can be paralyzing if never reached. This is not to say to never set goals so you don’t get disappointed, but you should strive to understand a realistic approach that takes into account factors outside of your control and being ok with that. A goal without a plan is just wishful thinking, and your GE must have deliberate energy and action behind it to be effective.

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

– General George S. Patton

GE is not a placement, ranking, or status, but the internal satisfaction that your full effort was given. If you don’t half-ass your effort and only focus on controlling what you can control, you will be able to make positive progress towards your goals. Finding the progress may be difficult, but it’s there. You were able to deliver a speech or put execute a workout without making any mistakes. You were able to perform something like a muscle-up for the first time. These achievements may be common for others, but your effort was GE to still call it a win. Sometimes you’ll even pressure others to catch up to you, especially if you are create an argument of efficiency or solves a problem that requires their input. Don’t look to throw anyone under the bus, but also don’t let someone else’s position of indecision stall your ideas.

Striving for perfection can also be paralyzing due to fear. Fear of failure of rejection can leave one taking no action whatsoever, thus removing any opportunity for success. Even a 1% chance is a chance, why would you throw that away? Having a practical sense of your abilities to overcome your fear and give a good enough effort can lead to great things. Often times others may appreciate your courage to step out and try something…anything.

The phrase Good Enough is your ally, not your enemy. Understand the power of your Good Enough and use it to your advantage.


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