Done is better than perfect. This mantra, which seems to run counter to the pervasive, obsessive culture of perfectionism, is becoming an increasingly important principle in personal and professional life. It’s a philosophy that preaches the value of progress over perfection, of execution over meticulous planning, of releasing products that are ‘good enough’ over obsessing over every minor detail.
Embracing the Mantra: “Done is Better Than Perfect”
At first glance, “done is better than perfect” might seem like an excuse for mediocrity. But in reality, it’s a powerful antidote to the paralysis of perfectionism that often hampers creativity, innovation, and productivity.
What this phrase essentially tells us is that action is more valuable than endless contemplation and procrastination. The chase for perfection often leads to a standstill, a situation where we’re so afraid of making mistakes or producing something less than perfect that we never make anything at all.
By focusing on getting things done rather than making them perfect, we enable ourselves to learn, adapt, and improve. This is the real essence of the concept that done is better than perfect. It’s not about settling for less but instead about acknowledging that perfection is a moving target and that real progress is made by doing and learning.
The Pitfall of Perfectionism
Perfectionism, while sometimes seen as an admirable trait, is more often a hindrance than a help. It can lead to overthinking, procrastination, and fear of failure. All these are detrimental to productivity and creativity.
The fear of making mistakes or delivering anything less than flawless can cripple our ability to make decisions or take action. In a world that is constantly changing, this paralysis can be deadly. Perfection is an illusion that we chase, often at the cost of the real work that needs to be done.The fear of making mistakes or delivering anything less than flawless can cripple our ability to make decisions or take action. Click To Tweet
The Power of Progress
Getting things done, even if they’re not perfect, results in tangible progress. It’s the fuel that drives innovation, the catalyst for improvement, and the cornerstone of learning. A ‘done’ task, project, or product is an opportunity to gather feedback, learn, and iterate.
When we adopt the philosophy that done is better than perfect, we become more flexible, more adaptable, and more responsive to change. We learn to see failure not as a catastrophic end but as an important part of the process of improvement and growth.When we adopt the philosophy that done is better than perfect, we become more flexible, more adaptable, and more responsive to change. We learn to see failure not as a catastrophic end but as an important part of the process of improvement and… Click To Tweet
The Embrace of Imperfection
Ancient philosophy often has much to teach us. I find this to especially be the case with the school of stoic philosophy, where we see a similar emphasis on the value of action over perfection. The stoics preached acceptance of the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. They believed in doing what’s within our power and accepting the rest as it comes.
Similarly, the principle of “done is better than perfect” urges us to focus on what we can control – our actions. We should strive for progress, for getting things done, rather than chase the elusive goal of perfection.
Embracing “Done is Better Than Perfect” in Your Life
So how can we incorporate this powerful mantra into our own lives? Here are a few practical steps:
- Start Now: Don’t wait for the perfect moment, the perfect tool, or the perfect plan. Start where you are, with what you have.
- Accept Imperfections: Learn to be okay with mistakes and imperfections. They are opportunities for learning and growth.
- Iterate and Improve: Once you have something done, you can always improve it. Feedback, both from yourself and others, is invaluable for this process.
- Focus on Progress: Celebrate small victories. Any progress is good progress.
The essence of the mantra done is better than perfect is not about promoting mediocrity, but about empowering progress. It’s about breaking free from the paralysis of perfectionism and embracing the dynamism of doing. It’s a potent reminder that the path to excellence is paved with actions, not intentions, and that the real magic lies in starting, doing, learning, and improving.