Perfection Is An Impossible Goal

This is part 1 of a multi-part series on perfectionism, something that LOTS of people I work with struggle with.

If you’re shooting for perfect, you’re playing a losing game. You’ll always feel inadequate because perfect just isn’t possible.

But here’s the thing: You get to choose what games you play.

You know what game I like better than “perfect”? “Good enough.”

“Good enough” is one of my favorite concepts. Often, when people hear “good enough” they think of it as settling, or “less than”. But I don’t think of it that way at all. “Good enough” is about being optimally efficient. It’s about doing no more than is necessary, in any scenario, to get the job done. And done well.

“Good enough” isn’t settling. It’s about using your key resources (like time and energy) wisely. And “good enough” is going to be different based on the goal or activity. The game is to find that line.

“Good enough” is that threshold beyond which is “too much effort expended”, and short of which is “not acceptable”. Trust me, it’s way more fun than “perfect”, and achievable, too!

This about it this way: Have you ever taken a pass/fail test?

Well, if 70% is a passing grade, “good enough” is 70%. Anything more is wasted effort studying.

Here’s another way of thinking about it. It often takes the same amount of time and effort to get from 0% to 90% as it does to get from 90% to 99.99% (remember, perfect isn’t possible; we’re not shooting for 100%). But usually, the only one who notices the difference between 90% and 99.99% is you. Is all that extra effort worth it to you?

In future posts in this series, I’ll be getting into some tactical solutions for how to combat perfectionism, so you can focus on doing more of what matters to you. But for now, I want to leave you with a couple of pithy quotes that you can use to help you make the mental shift:

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”

“Done is better than perfect”

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Originally published at on June 6, 2022.



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