Friday, September 2, 2016

Axiom 87: Don't Strive for Perfection

"Don't wait, the time will never be just right." -Napoleon Hill

When i visited Paris a few years ago I was excited about seeing the Eiffel Tower. I had a vision of how quiet and romantic it would be. However, when I actually got there it was nothing like I had imagined. It wasn't the perfect place I had imagined. It was loud, crowded with people selling souvenirs, and was more like a carnival than a romantic destination. It was a simple reminder that nothing is perfect.

Don't let perfection derail your success. There are three distinct ways that the idea of perfection can hurt you:

First, don't be such a perfectionist in starting a project that you never get the ball rolling. Some people want everything to be perfect before they begin a big project. They want to have all their little side projects done, they want the timing to be perfect, they want all their resources lined up first, etc. Don't worry about making a perfect situation before you begin a project. Just dive in and let things work themselves out along the way. 

Second, don't be such a perfectionist that you never complete a project quickly. If it takes five hours to do something 96% accurately, and 12 hours to do it 100% accurately maybe the extra time isn't worth it. Of course this is a question only you will know the answer to but make sure you are not wasting time for the sake of perfection. Most tasks do not have to be 100% accurate.

Lastly, don't let the idea of perfection distort your life view. While you should strive to do good work, don't strive for an idea of perfection that is not possible. Sometimes imperfection is perfection in itself. When I realized that the Eiffel Tower was more of a tourist trap than the idea of perfection I had envisioned I did not let it ruin my time. I simply keep my distance from the crowds and the insanity and enjoyed it from a distance with my wife. From a distance it was as perfect and magical as I had imagined.