I’ve decided to start a blog to try to capture moments when I figure out something useful or interesting in my life. Maybe these things will be useful or interesting to others?
So, let’s get started. I feel like I should start with something deep and brilliant that will make people who come here go “Ah, look at all the worthwhile things ze has to say!” But sometimes inspiration doesn’t strike right away, and putting down something interesting but inane is better than nothing, even if that nothing might have been brilliant.
Which brings me to the first Things I Have Learned thing:
1) Perfect is the enemy of good.
I’ve tried to write this first sentence maybe 3 or 4 times, and been unsatisfied with it each time. I’m still unsatisfied with it. Fact is, I’m out of practice writing, so my first few posts are likely to be terrible relative to the rest of the blog, if I make it that far. I have this idea in my head of what I want my writing to look like: witty, sophisticated, occasionally but not oppressively poetic. I know I have the capacity to become that awesome writer. But the only way to get there is practice. If I give up every time I look at my work and am dissatisfied, I will never write anything.
Hence the “enemy of good” phrase up at the top there. I have a limited amount of resources – time and patience, in this case – and it’s important to remember the choice I’m really making when I go over things again and again and then decide to put off finishing until I can do a better job. My brain tries to tell me that the choice looks like this:
SUPERAMAZINGAWESOME product VS just okay, “good enough” product
which would maybe be true if my resources weren’t limited. But since they are, the real choice is this:
non-existent superamazingawesome product VS actual real good enough product
And the fact is, no matter how great the first choice might have been, IT DOESN’T EXIST. If I choose “good enough”, I end up with something good. If I try to choose perfect, I end up with nothing. Which means that in the real world, good is better than perfect. And striving for perfect can destroy whatever chance I had for “good enough”. Perfect is the enemy of good.
The best part, though, is that good enough can bring me closer to perfect. Learning a skill tends to be iterative. Every time I shut up my inner critic and write anyway, that practice might help me get a little closer to what I want my writing to look like.
I won’t get anywhere if I refuse to start until I know I’ve reached my destination. I get somewhere by putting one foot in front of the other. That’s all I can do, and that’s all I need to do. It may not be the best way. It may not be the most efficient, or effective, or any of that. The important thing is that while I keep trying to make things better, for now, good enough is good enough. And that’s awesome.