Don’t Let Great Get in the Way of Good

While many of you may recognize the above as the business-speak version of Voltaire’s “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good,” many of you may also be thinking, “What…?”

Here we go:

Recently (hence the picture accompanying this post) my husband has become a passionate at-home baker.

Because the recipe he is following is 40 pages long—and begins with making your own sourdough starter using leaves from the backyard—the first few loaves weren’t quite as delicious and beautiful as those pictured…

Nevertheless, he persisted. (Yes, I wrote that.) And not only was my inner gourmand happy, my inner perfectionist was impressed at his equanimity and persistence.

Simultaneously, this past week a client mentioned he had been counseling one of his employees not to let great get in the way of good.

In other words, “Don’t worry so much about doing something perfectly that you don’t do anything at all.”

It seems his employee—a perfectionist—was struggling with this idea.

As a perfectionist myself, I got that.

To that end I told him about my favorite of the Shanti mantras:

“That is perfect. This also is perfect. When you take the perfect from the perfect, perfection remains.”

In other words—as I so often have to remind myself—my taking a crack at trying something and not doing it “perfectly” from the get-go is not, in fact, imperfect.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like “Fail, fail again. Fail better.”