Nothing is perfect in life. Be it your job, home, relationship or favourite football team, there will always be something that gets in the way of it being perfect.
And that’s absolutely fine; perfection is a unicorn – it’s what makes us human and life so interesting.
Unfortunately, continually striving for perfection can result in countless hours of wasted effort, stress and disappointment. Ultimately, that will lead to unhappiness, which neatly demonstrates why perfection should never be sought.
In 99.99% of cases, ‘getting it done’ is enough. And if you reach that place and feel like you could have done more, you’re unfortunately missing the point.
Let’s consider two examples of where ‘done’ is better than perfect.
YouTube is a brilliant way to unleash your creativity and get yourself heard, but it’s also a bit of a trap for the perfectionists amongst us.
Imagine someone who’s deeply passionate and knowledgeable about a certain subject. They decide to start a YouTube channel but get bogged down in the choice of cameras, lighting and background music.
As a result, their creativity is stifled and, despite the fact their videos have a professional sheen, there simply isn’t enough substance to draw in an engaged audience. What a waste!
The graphic designer
Tasked with designing a new brochure for a business, our graphic designer works hard to meet the client’s requirements.
Only, there’s a problem. Before they send the first version for review, they get obsessed with the small details. Minor changes in font sizes, pixel-differences in image placement and tiny changes to colour codes see them spending hours on stuff that no one else will notice.
Again – what a waste!
So, here’s why getting it done is nearly always better than striving for perfection.
You want results
Again, you can apply this to work or home life: you want results.
You might want to finally finish converting the garage into a home office or get that crucial sales report to the board. Whatever it is, the point is to get results, and that might mean strategically cutting a corner or making do with elements that aren’t mission-critical.
Getting stuff done gets results – fast.
You don’t want to paralyse yourself
Attempting to find perfection in something you’re doing can lead to stage fright. Not in the literal sense, of course, more in the fact that you’ll spend so long trying to perfect the work that you’ll be too scared to show the end result to anyone.
Letting go of the task in hand and showing your hard work to others – even if there are some rough edges – is the first step to removing yourself from the continual pursuit of perfection.
(Most) people don’t spot mistakes
Ask a big-name Hollywood director what they think of their latest blockbuster, and even if they’re proud of the end result, they may point to one or two areas that could have been improved with more time.
If Hollywood directors can make mistakes and get away with them, so can you.
It’s almost guaranteed that only you know where the kinks are in your last project. And, sure, there might be one or two eagle-eyed people in your audience who spot them, but they’ll definitely be in the minority.
You can always go back and polish
Quite often, just getting that first draft or version 1 out to a client, customer or friend is all you need to do. Chances are, they’ll like it (or offer a few suggestions for improvement), and that means you can always return and polish if you have time later.
If it makes you feel better to polish something after everyone else has given it the thumbs up – go for it. Just make sure in doing so you don’t neglect other jobs.
You’re confident in your own ability
You really are! But striving for perfection will probably make you feel less confident.
There’s a simple reason for this, and it goes right back to what we said at the start of this blog: perfection is a unicorn. You’ll almost definitely never, ever find it.
You’re great at what you do, so once you know something is ‘done’, despite any minor issues, get it out there and in front of people who will be impressed by your hard work!
You’ll start to admire the work of others more
Perfectionists are, let’s be honest, a little irritating. For them, nothing is ever good enough.
If you constantly strive for perfection, you may, unfortunately, become one of those people, but if you instead focus on getting jobs done well, you’ll start to realise that most people do the same. And that means you’ll appreciate what they do far more than you do now!
Others may have a keener eye than you
Even if you think you’ve perfected something, you’ll almost certainly find someone who disagrees.
So, get the task done to the best of your ability and pass it onto others for their views. Chances are, they’ll find errors you weren’t aware of, and your time will be far better spent correcting them than striving for perfection.
Remember – we’re our own worst reviewers of our own work. Let someone else be the judge!
You’ll be happier!
Looking for perfection isn’t much fun. That’s partly because you probably won’t find it, but also because the effort required to find it is pretty enormous.
Whether you’re looking for perfection in work or a personal project, you’ll soon find that you tire of whatever it is you’re doing. You may even start to loathe it, which would be a crying shame.
Our final piece of advice is therefore incredibly simple: get things done to the best of your ability and enjoy every part of the process. Once you let go of perfectionism and realise you can achieve far more by getting things over the line to the best of your ability you’ll be happier and far more successful.