Fighting Perfection: A Practical Application

Last week, we began a discussion about how as kids, many of us were told “to do our best”, however as we get older, our “best” continually gets better and better, and now as adults, we have this idea that we must keep doing our best in order to succeed.

This is true, however, the challenge we face when taking on projects and tasks is that doing our best becomes vague because the more we work on a project, and the more time we spend on a task, we keep getting better, learning more, and the line that is “best” moves further than when we started. When the line moves, we are prone to go and “redo” the part that didn’t make the grade, and are always “delaying” the launch.

Also last week, I asked for suggestions for how we can balance the extreme of procrastinating to get our project perfect, with the alternate of being average and being lost in a crowd of 6-7 billion people.

Several readers responded, and each had some excellent additions to the discussion:

  • Nancy responded with the idea the perfections sounds great, but often we have no idea what perfection looks like — especially when no one on our planet is perfect.
  • Ann responded that she struggles with this too, and she has learned to get “good enough” out there and improve it as time goes on.
  • A.K. expanded on what Ann shared that sometimes we must let go of the idea for perfection in order to continue our personal growth.

All of these are excellent responses and I agree with each one!

There are two more points that I want to bring out to discuss. The first is that making mistakes shows that we are actually doing something. If we have a clean slate, we are likely not doing anything, or we aren’t trying very hard at what we do.

What determines the difference is what we do when mistakes happen. Will we shrug it off, or will we try to adjust and become better? Even as I write this, I think of a time when work called me in because of a mistake that I made, and I know how easy it can be to cast the blame, and to try to shrug it off. However, growing professionally and personally can only happen when we learn from those mistakes and choose to adjust and become better.

The second key point that I want to bring out is very similar to what Ann said, and it is to grow openly and outwardly. Get something out there. Be lost in the crowd of 6-7 billion people. Everyone starts here.

Then continually work to improve. Adapt to the new things that you learn. Slowly progress and pick up steam. There are people who start, get up to a certain point, and then “wait” for things to happen. (They will be waiting a long time.) Then there are others who start, get up to a certain point, and after noticing that nothing has happened, continue pressing forward until something does happen.

I aim to be among the latter group. For those following my story, I launched Reflective Bible Study (which included this blog) in 2010. Since that point, I have been learning and growing, and I just launched a brand new ReflectiveBibleStudy.com. The new site is my next phase of “open growth”. It is a culmination of letting things be “good enough” for me, but a representation of where my line of excellence has grown to. If you are interested in learning a better way to study the Bible, or if you want to learn how you can improve your own study time, I recommend checking it out!

~Cam

P.S. Before checking out the new ReflectiveBibleStudy.com, would you share what you have found to be the key to “letting our projects be ‘good enough’” in the comment box below? Thanks in advance for sharing!

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