Good Enough vs Perfection

We are conditioned through schooling and university that there are right answers and wrong answers. That the culmination of all your efforts is an examination or test where the marker assesses your answers; they are right or wrong and based on these you pass or fail the subject. This nurturing cultivates a fear in us that stops us from doing things until we are certain that what we are doing is right. In the real world, the answers are not as easy and the only way we learn is failure. To be truly successful, you have to unlearn what you are taught in school and university, throw caution to the wind and risk being wrong, again and again.

Any project that we embark upon is bound to be imperfect, so rather than be paralysed by a fear of being wrong or being unable to meet the perfection benchmark, aim for good enough. Give it a crack and be open to feedback from your peers and mentors. Good enough means iteration, so while your first draft may be less than perfect, it will get you down the path, as opposed to procrastination, being stuck in the research stage and not even getting started.

The Pareto principle is extremely useful to bear in mind, where 80% of the result needs 20% of the effort, while the final 20% will take 80% of the effort. Depending on your task and any quality or regulatory requirements, decide as a team what the optimal result needs to be and work iteratively towards this.

In summary, when taking on a task or a project, define the objective and rather than seek to achieve perfection on your first attempt, let your first attempt be what will get you to good enough. Then seek feedback and iteratively get to your deliverable. Adopting a right or wrong mindset or trying to get to perfect might paralyse you and cause you to procrastinate, rather than what you should be doing; getting things done.