The Price of Perfection

This one goes out to my many perfect contemporaries. This one is for every perfectionist, and even some want-to-be perfectionists. There’s no easy way to say it, so let’s start off with a story about Morris. Morris is a perfectionist. Day after day, he takes the time to carefully perfect everything that he does. In fact, he’s got his commute timed, his work scheduled, and everything falls into place perfectly all the time. One day, Morris comes up with an idea, a perfect one, naturally, and begins to work on it. Except it isn’t perfect. It’s just missing something. He can’t release his creation like this. Morris’s perfect idea never sees the light of day because it just wasn’t perfect enough for him.

Why do we let great be the enemy of good? Why do we strive to be perfect when sometimes all the world needs is good enough? For some it’s a code of honor, for others a badge, and for a few, a compulsion. I’ve caught myself many times refusing to act, waiting to do something, or wanting a thing to have better conditions before I set off. Now I wonder, how many ideas in this world never come to fruition because they are never started? The old cliche, “once begun, half done” resonates here.

We can actually see this in history. Many great things came about through apparent happenstance, willingness to share the imperfect, or the imperfect contributions of a collective. The internet, penicillin, peanut butter. It is nice to romanticize and buy into the idea that there is some coordinated sentience pushing things along the “right” way, and that things happen because they’re meant to be, but ultimately every step forward comes with a new set of consequences, whether beneficial or malignant, and the solutions or next steps come from the people who are willing to eschew the cloak of perfection and take up the mantle of doing. So what is your next step? Will you await the perfect condition before contributing, or will you get out there and contribute to something? There’s a world of art, music, computers, steno, literature, and study. You need not despair if the thing you’re working on right now does not work out. There’s a world of things to do and see, but only for those willing to open their eyes to an imperfect world, and only for those willing to open their minds up to being imperfect.