Is Perfect the Enemy of Good?

by | Aug 25, 2020

Perfect is the Enemy of Good“Perfect is the enemy of good.” It’s a common phrase you hear in the business world, especially in the software and web development industries.

Before going forward, I must share that I’ve said this phrase to myself on a regular basis — more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve also said it in my personal life. It’s an easy way to justify being average or not finishing a task completely.

I do see the logic behind this attitude. As you take on more responsibility with work, kids, home ownership, community involvement, etc., your time is eaten away from every angle. At some point, getting something done, even if it could be done better, is better than not getting it done at all.

Or Is It the Path Forward?

With all of that being said, I truly hate the phrase. It leads you down a path of sloppy work and underachievement.

As I look back on life, my greatest accomplishments were achieved when being average was not acceptable. It was a mindset that inevitably propelled me forward, helping me achieve greater success. When you stop striving for greatness, for perfection, you start down the path to mediocrity. If you get too far down that path, it can be difficult to reverse course.

How many highly successful individuals do you think said that to themselves?

Michael Jordan
Steve Jobs
Tom Hanks
Tom Brady
Serena Williams
Tiger Woods
Albert Einstein
Elon Musk
Simone Biles
Jack Nicklaus
Peyton Manning
Oprah Winfrey
Lebron James
Stephan Curry
Ben Hogan
Henry Ford
Leonardo da Vinci
Harrison Ford

Sure, maybe they said that now and then, but I bet they said that a lot less than you or I.

We as a society need to get back to striving for success and perfection. We need to stop expecting others to pick us up and carry us forward. We need to take ownership of our life, the successes and failures.

Perfection isn’t possible, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue it. Great things can happen when you push past mediocrity. Greater things can happen when you don’t quit — or even let the thought of giving up enter your thoughts — until you’ve done the absolute best you can do.

Perfect may be the enemy of good but is good, good enough?

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