Perfect Is The Enemy Of Good

Flawed diamond

Rob Lavinsky, / CC BY-SA 3.0 / “Better a diamond with a flaw, than a pebble with none” – Confucius


Perfect is the enemy of good.

I think about this quote a lot.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist by nature, and this has only been reinforced by years of medical training. We’re told to give nothing but our best, to be nothing but the best. What if, in trying to being the best, you never get things done at all?

Sometimes, waiting for the best situation or the best time just makes sure that we never do anything. We know this in our hearts, and we use it to procrastinate. “I’m waiting for the perfect time to do it.” “Everything has to be just right before I begin”.

Even when we begin, we just can’t seem to get it done. We’re constantly tweaking things, trying to get it just perfect before we call it done. Perfection is almost impossible to attain, so it just means that we keep struggling with whatever it is.

The desire for perfection has held me back, a lot. I’m working really hard to free myself of that paralyzing desire. I’m not saying I deliberately do sloppy stuff just to say it’s done. I’m developing a healthier attitude towards doing things.

I decided, a while ago, to write longer, more interesting posts on this blog. My posts are usually about 700-800 words, and I was going to step that up to 900, maybe 1000 words per post.

I’ve broken the 1000 word margin three times, one, two, and three. Today’s post is 326 words. I seriously thought about just not posting at all, but that made me sad, like I was admitting defeat. Then I thought about the quote, and sat down at my table to write.

When things are not going so great, I remind myself that getting up and showing up counts for something. With some effort, I might get to good enough.

Not perfect, but good enough.

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17 thoughts on “Perfect Is The Enemy Of Good

    1. I had no idea I’d thrown out the follow button. I redesigned my blog a few months ago, and I only just found the Like button two weeks ago!
      I’ll fix it and reply in this thread to let you know when it’s up, if that’s okay with you.
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know, I do appreciate it.

  1. Oh boy can I relate to this…I too am a perfectionist and you are so right with all that you wrote! It’s really hard to stop it too. You try to accept that good, even really good is ok but there sits in the back of your mind that you could make just that much better!!! UGH! I think the length of the post was perfect!! 😉

    1. Thank you!
      The thought that it could be better is the bane of my blogging existence. Sometimes, hours go by and I’m tweaking and editing… And then I remember this quote, sigh and hit Publish.
      Sometimes I sneak back in to edit, I can’t help it! 😀

  2. Toby, it’s good that I just read this. It’s not the length of the words that matter but the content of your message and the message is good enough. We only perfect our days by giving our best because nobody be can perfect no matter how hard they try. There will always be room for improvement. Well written 🙂

      1. I understand. There are days such as this for all of us. Cheer up. Will you come to my blog party? You might link up with lots of lovely bloggers. It’s titled it’s a love thing, just in case you want to check it out.

  3. Well done Toby! It’s not easy blogging. Especially when you’re doing it single-handedly without any help from other writers. More grease to your elbow.

    And to your topic, I’m a perfectionist as well and you can’t even imagine how many times I proof read a post before publishing. I really hate it when someone calls in an error. Makes me feel foolish.

    But when perfection leads to procrastination, that’s where the problem lies! Let’s be perfect as long as we get it done!

    Procrastination is a disease!

    1. My spam filter caught your comment, only just seeing it.
      I guess you know the pain of hitting Publish, seeing a glaring error on the live page, and then going back in to edit! 🙂
      Thank you for your encouragement. It really is not easy, and all I try to do everyday is to get it done.

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