Perfection . . . the Enemy?

By Justin Stenstrom

Posted 9 years agoGROWTH

“Don’t let the Perfect be the enemy of the Good.”

These are the famous words uttered by the great 18th century philosopher Voltaire. What he meant was that by always trying to be perfect in life, you often achieve very little in the way of success.

Personally, I would do well to heed this advice. Often, I spend a massive amount of time trying to get things just right, as I am a terrible perfectionist. Everything always has to be double, triple, and sometimes even quadruple checked before I can safely approve of it. It borders on obsessive-compulsion from time to time. But that’s just how I am. I always want to put out the best quality of work no matter what I do.

Whether I am writing a blog like this, or a book, washing my hands, planning my meals for the week, lifting weights at the gym, or even counting money. I always have to check that I have done everything thoroughly, and to my complete, and utter satisfaction.

All this is okay, in a way, because I do get to live up to my high standards. If I had none, I wouldn’t be as pleased with myself, and I would probably have a very unorganized lifestyle.

But on the other-hand, it would behoove me, I believe, to relax more, and be less of a stickler in so many areas of my life.

In fact, if I didn’t triple check just about everything I did, I would save so much time, and would be able to get much more done. Not to mention, the end result would probably change very, very little, if at all. After all, by the third or fourth time you check something, there usually aren’t any astounding mistakes that have gone unnoticed!

When I first started learning about business for example, I was so fascinated with learning everything there was to know, that I didn’t implement any of the ideas I was learning for months. I wanted to be so perfect in what I was going to be doing, that I let this perfection become my actual enemy. I learned a lot, yes, but after trying to figure out 10 different ways of dealing with the same problem, from 10 different business minds, I realized that I had to stop trying to be “perfect.”

New entrepreneurs just starting their business need to remember this too. Not just when learning about all sorts of techniques for getting started with their particular business, but also when it comes to improving it thereafter.

It took me months to actually start working on my new online business; not because I didn’t know what to do, or because I didn’t have the knowledge, but because I had too much of it. I was literally spinning my wheels trying to figure out the best design for my website, the best way to advertise, the best way to grow an email list, the best way to connect and network with others—every little thing I could think of was Google-searched for days if not weeks at a time!

Progress was next to nil. Fortunately, although it took me several long months, I eventually realized what I’d been doing, and I began to actually implement some of my researched ideas. I stopped trying to find the perfect business model, and I stopped trying to make every business decision of mine just right. Instead, I just started plugging away at things and started putting things into action.

I gave myself room to make errors and chances to mess up, knowing that I, just like everyone else, am not perfect. And with that mindset and execution I was able to actually get my online business going and successfully grow it thereafter.

Success is more than just looking up things and more than trying to make everything you do perfect. It comes to those who work hard, but more importantly to those who don’t mind messing up. Success is a long and hard road, and it takes time to end up where you want to be. But it’s even longer and harder if you try to be perfect all the time!

I can certainly learn from Voltaire, as should you, and all men and women looking to improve their business lives. Perfection is the enemy of good, so don’t let it take over your life. Nobody is perfect. Just be as good as you can be, and that will be more than enough!

About the author Justin Stenstrom

Justin Stenstrom is a nationally acclaimed lifestyle coach, author, entrepreneur, and speaker. He is the founder of and the author of the book Giving Shy Guys Game . His mission is to provide men with the best tools to become complete gentleman!

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