Perfection is a Low Standard
Conventional wisdom says that striving for perfection is the best way to succeed. I disagree.
Perfection is a concept that bears no resemblance to reality. Because it is unattainable, those who seek it are doomed to disappointment.
The quest for perfection forces your attention onto minor details that don't really matter. You "sweat the small stuff" but "miss the big picture."
Perfectionists are forever judging people and finding them wanting. As a result, they make both themselves and those around them miserable.
Because they're seeking the impossible, perfectionists give up quickly. And on those rare occasions when they do accomplish something, they can't enjoy it.
Because it's not perfect.
That's why perfect is a low standard. People who strive for it are simply giving themselves an excuse to fail.
A Higher Standard
What's a higher standard than perfect? Actually there are two: "good enough," and "outstanding."
There are many elements of life and work where "good enough" is, well..., good enough to get the job done.
Improving things that are "good enough" produces diminishing returns. For example, why have a spotlessly clean desk when you're not making the important calls?
There are other elements of life and work where you want to be "outstanding"--which means standing above the crowd.
The only way to be "outstanding" is to work on what's essential, not to achieve perfection, but to achieve your goals.
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.