Perfection Is the Enemy of Greatness

I’m going to say something right now to all of you cognitives (the detail people) that’s going to make you crazy:

Perfection is the enemy of greatness

A friend of mine tells the story of the steps her highly detailed colleague takes when writing an email:

  1. Compose the email first in Word
  2. Pass it by a trusted friend or two for input
  3. Transfer Word document to email
  4. Re-read and apply finishing touches
  5. Hit send
  6. Discover tiny imperfection upon postprandial re-read
  7. Lay awake worrying about what the receiver is thinking of said mistake

Ironically, the obsession with achieving the unachievable – perfection – guarantees that this goal will be forever elusive.

Obsessing over perfection leads to dithering, causes you to put out poorer quality work, and makes you forget the point of what you started out to do in the first place: trying your best to make something good that works.

You hold yourself to impossibly high standards.  They can’t be fulfilled by you or by anyone else.  The unseen judge looking over your shoulder isn’t really there.  So give yourself a break this week, and be content with 80%.  It’s good enough!

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