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I’ve Come to Slay Thee
Perfect is the enemy of “good enough.”
People who deny this are known as perfectionists. And perfectionists have no business being in business. Perfect example? Me.
In 2020, Simona saw that I spent far more time perfecting our undiscoverable, zero-traffic no-visitors website than I did hunting down leads. Had I flipped those priorities, you may have read a different sentence today.
I now know that perfection is a mirage. Any work I’ve come across that appeared perfect to me undoubtedly had room for improvement. For evidence of that, I need only ask the craftsman, entrepreneur, or artist who made it.
Patrons see the final products that appear stunning, and in some cases, perfect. The artist sees a thousand-and-one regrettable mistakes.
Which is why ‘perfect’ can be bought, but cannot be sold. We can perceive perfection only in the work of others, our own work can never inspire the same elation. And that is because to experience perfection, the work must appear effortless.
When I watch Roger Federer hit a topspin winner as casually as I sip pool-side Margaritas, that looks perfect. But to Roger, it looks like 35-years of excruciating practice and about 3-quarters of an inch off-target.
Doubtless Federer spies dozens, if not hundreds of little mistakes during a given Tennis match, a match that I might call the best game of tennis ever played. But from Federer’s perspective, he’s never played a ‘perfect’ game, and he never will.
To chase perfection when I know it is both unattainable, and to the untrained eye, indistinguishable from really really good, is a narcissistic waste of time.
Perfectionism is the selfish obsession in which one seeks to feel about their own work the way they feel about the work of others. And the only way to achieve it is to complete the work, pop it into a time-machine, and send it back to yourself 10-seconds before you considered working on it.
And now, a brief narrative interlude.
“Woah, thanks future-me! This website is perfect!”
“No it’s not, you fool! This image is always 3-pixels too far to the–” a gunshot echoes. A body from the future thuds to the ground.
“Shh, your work is done now…”
Today, I stop dedicating my time to ‘perfect’ and begin focusing on ‘good’ and ‘done.’ Perfect is for customers, serviceable is for me. That’s my new mantra, will you make it yours?