“Too late, I found you can't wait to become perfect, you got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.”
I think I have shared with you in the past my belief that excessive striving for perfection does more harm than good. I honestly believe that requiring perfection provides the procrastinator the rationale for inaction. In my case I have never had the skill or patience to be a practicing perfectionist. What I have found is when my offerings include minor flaws they are usually quickly corrected once they surface in the real world, especially when people smarter than I am provide me feedback.
I have often become so frustrated with boards and organizations what agonize as much over punctuation as they do over content that I have had to resign rather than create unwinnable conflict. Leaving where there is little positive action allows me to do something else that has a higher probability of success.
Inaction is often the result organizations that destroy organizations that strive to make everyone happy. for when they water down their actions in order to stifle any chance of criticism they end up doing little more than maintaining the status quo. I love the challengers, those impatient folks who drive us to take positive action rather than sitting on the sidelines with the risk adverse watching as things slowly get worse.
In truth I think my mistakes have created as much positive action as my successes and that is because we correct mistakes while we often just observe inaction.
A few years ago I got this piece from bestselling author Gretchen Rubin and I sure understand what she wrote.
Enjoy the Fun of Failure. At Least Try.
I’m a perfectionist. I hate to be criticized. I’m defensive. I’m thin-skinned. As a result, I really, really, hate to make a mistake or to be connected with things that aren’t perfect.
The problem is, failure and imperfection are quite common (maybe you’ve observed this yourself), and if you aren’t willing to make mistakes or to accept flaws or failure, you can’t achieve much.
Novelty and challenge bring happiness, but they also bring frustration, anxiety, flaws, and failure – in fact, the more challenging the undertaking, the more likely it is to fail or to be flawed.
I often feel myself shrinking away from opportunities or ideas, because I’m worried about doing a less-than-perfect job – even though I know that I’m happier when I create, when I push myself, when I try new things. That’s why these two resolutions are important for me.
Enjoy the fun of failure reminds me to lighten up – to accept failure or mistakes as an important part of a process. It’s okay if something fails. In fact, that’s part of the fun!
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good reminds me that it’s more important to do something at all than to do something perfectly. Many things worth doing are worth doing badly. Doing something badly is often a necessary stage toward doing it well.
“Perfectionism means that you try not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived.”
An accountant is someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
An auditor is someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded.
A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain. (Mark Twain)
An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
A statistician is someone who is good with numbers but lacks the personality to be an accountant.
An actuary is someone who brings a fake bomb on a plane, because that decreases the chances that there will be another bomb on the plane.
A programmer is someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.
A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000 word document and calls it a "brief."
A psychologist is a man who watches everyone else when a beautiful girl enters the room.
A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.
A consultant is someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time.
A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
"She had lost the art of conversation but not, unfortunately, the power of speech."
George Barnard Shaw
The psychiatrist was interviewing a first-time patient. "You say you're here," he inquired, "because your family is worried about your taste in socks?"
"That's correct," muttered the patient. "I like wool socks."
"But that's perfectly normal," replied the doctor. "Many people prefer wool socks to those made from cotton or acrylic. In fact, I myself like wool socks."
"You DO?" exclaimed the man. "With oil and vinegar, or just a squeeze of lemon?"
"God has a plan for all of us, but He expects us to do our share of the work."
The preacher was having a heart-to-heart talk with a backslider of his flock, whose drinking of moonshine invariably led to quarreling with his neighbors, and occasional shotgun blasts at some of them.
"Can't you see, Ben," intoned the parson, "that not one good thing comes out of this drinking?"
"Well, I sort of disagree there," replied the backslider. "It makes me miss the folks I shoot at."
Modesty is the art of drawing attention to whatever it is you are being humble about.
POINTS TO PONDER
How do you get off a non-stop flight?
How many weeks are there in a light year?
If a jogger runs at the speed of sound, can he still hear his Walkman?
If swimming is good for your shape, then why do the whales look the way they do?
If you jog backwards, will you gain weight?
Why do the signs that say "Slow Children" have a picture of a running child?
Why do we sing Take me out to the ball game, when we are already there?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
"My friends accused me of being a hypochondriac, which made me think: What if I *am* a hypochondriac, in addition to all these other ailments I have?"
An optometrist was instructing a new employee on how to charge a customer:
"As you are fitting his glasses, if he asks how much they cost, you say, '$75.' ... if his eyes don't flutter, say, 'For the frames. The lenses will be $50.'..."
"If his eyes still don't flutter, you add, 'Each.'"
“Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.”
David M. Burns
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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