Don’t let Perfect be the Enemy of Done
Last week, I spoke about the resistance that we face when going towards our dreams and ambitions.
So, this week, I’d like to expand on another idea and explain why this resistance exists.
And a particular area of interest for me is perfectionism and, more importantly, the inaction that comes from it.
The goal of this week’s newsletter is to be okay with it not being perfect.
When we set such a high standard for ourselves, we fear falling short.
This creates procrastination.
“Why risk being imperfect when I’m safe here as I am?”
Or you may find it’s a feeling of:
- Not feeling good enough
- Doubting how good you’ll be
- Comparing yourself to others achievements
- The fear that you’ll be judged if it’s not good enough
The issue with all of this is that it stops one thing. Action.
You procrastinate. Wait until the “right day” to start. Yet always kicking it further down the road.
So how do we overcome this? We start. We do.
Embracing a beginner’s mindset.
Be okay with it looking a little naff. Not being perfect. The important thing is that you get moving and get something done.
In reality. Everyone. And I mean everyone. That ever did anything of worth. Was a clunky novice to begin with.
They made mistakes. Got it ugly. Got it wrong.
The famous quote from Thomas Edison when inventing the light bulb:
“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
We’d currently be in darkness if he had hoped to create the perfect light bulb at the beginning. Many probably tried and gave up.
He didn’t create the LED, dimmable, neon, fluorescent, colourful, strobe lights that you might have in your home now. He simply created light from a basic filament.
He got something done. Then he progressed from there.
For me, I’m currently studying for my MSc in Performance Psychology, and I find myself wanting to reach for the highest marks. However, I also find myself procrastinating over the work.
When I meditate on it, I realise it’s from a place where I want to be as good as my lecturers. People that have been in the field for 20+ years. This isn’t reality.
I’ve realised: just get something done. If it’s not an A+, it’s not a problem. Find out what to improve on.
A framework to be not be 10/10.
I remember listening to the Airbnb founders talk about how, when they started out, they wrote down what a “10-star experience” would look like. Then work down to 1 star and set realistic goals in between.
So why not try this out:
What does perfection look like? What is 10/10 ← aim for this at the start
Then what does 7/10 look like ← celebrate this if you reach it
Then what does 5/10 look like ← achieve this at a minimum
So while you may be thinking “Others are better than me at this”, “
At the end of the day, perfectionism, procrastination, and doubt rear their ugly heads.
But think of the competitive advantage that you can have with this mindset:
One of curiosity, embracing imperfection, and taking action regardless of what the outcome looks like.
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