Do you have any goals that have been sitting on your to-do list for far too long? Staring at you, like that creepy dude in the background of all of your selfies.
All of us have those things. The things we overthink. The things we can always find good excuses not to do, because we can’t do them as perfectly as they should be done.
An Italian proverb reads, Il meglio è nemico del bene. From that origin through time we get the contemporary phrase perfect is the enemy of good.
The pain in the ask is, if you did that thing on your list perfectly today, would you look back in a year and still consider it perfect?
Let’s be honest. You would look back in a year as Jimmy Fallon’s ew-girl. It still wouldn’t be as perfect as you idealized.
Many artists hate their former paintings. Musicians loathe former songs. They still create. Past strokes, sounds and failures lay the foundation for future success. You can always paint over the canvas or remix your song.
What if you had permission… a command… to be imperfect? What if you were forced to do the best with what you have now? What if you limited the size of your sandbox?
Constraint breeds creativity. In fact, constraint, not limitless freedom, often drives genius. It shows up time and again as one of the contributing factors to creative problem solving.
Perhaps one of the best-known examples would be the architectural work of Frank Gehry. Many know him for his work on the Guggenheim Museum in Spain. He also worked on the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
When asked about his work for Disney Hall, Gehry explains that it was the strict requirements that forced him to create such a unique design. In particular, it required flawless acoustics. In creating the environment for those acoustics, he crafted an iconic exterior.
Perfection is elusive.
But, perfection is not the aim. Be better. Better is a game of inches.