Perfect is the Enemy
Don’t let perfection get in the way of action.
Surprisingly, my morning routine post from this weekend stirred some engagement. Anytime I write something semi-personal the immediate thought that comes to mind is, “who cares?”
Yet, it’s awesome to get comments and DMs from people who are journaling and thinking deeply about where they’re headed in life. Please keep them coming!
One thing I realized as I wrote that post, and in the writing habit I’ve recently changed, is that perfection is the enemy. I’m a huge believer in consistency over intensity. The best workout done once is worthless, but 30 minutes daily for 30 years can add a decade to your life.
Could I optimize my morning routine with the perfect coffee? Sure. Could I spend more time meditating to get the “optimal” effect? Probably. Would I continue the routine if it had to be perfect every time? Almost certainly not.
That last sentence was an “Ah-ha” moment for me when it came to writing. Why wouldn’t I just apply the same logic to posting here?
You’ve probably noticed, or might be slightly annoyed, that I am writing every day right now. I tried to switch to the once-per-week method, where I went deeper on a topic, but it was tough to stay consistent.
Why? Because I felt like every detail needed to be perfect, every avenue explored, and every nuance acknowledged. In short, it became too time-consuming, so it didn’t get done. The point of writing is to write because, like with all things, you get better the more you do it.
So, now I’m writing every day on whatever comes to mind. It takes me 30 minutes or so, but I get into the habit, which is the actual goal of the exercise.
Being consistent over being perfect applies to companies, too.
It’s common, especially at the later stages, to get into a similar struggle where everything must be perfect for executing a new strategy or customer segment. But there’s a lot to be said for simply building the habit of trying new things and experimenting regularly. Amazon famously encourages this, and it’s worked out well; for every Fire phone, there’s an AWS or Prime.
The most important thing with any habit or company ethos is to put yourself in a position to succeed. To do that, you have to practice regularly and enjoy the actual practice. We often get caught up in making things too perfect, so things don’t get done.
Instead, put yourself in a position to succeed. Build a process you enjoy, and don’t let perfection be the enemy of the done.