When Good Is Good Enough
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect you can be good.”
When I was 13 and panicking over getting an A in class my mother asked me “Do you know what they call people who got D’s in med school?..... Doctor.” Scary maybe, but true.
Most people want to be and bring their “best selves” to every challenge or occasion.
I get that, but more often than not our imperfectly good selves are good enough to get whatever the job is done. Good enough isn’t lazy. It’s understanding and weighing the relative importance and value of exhausting ourselves by going the extra mile when we’ve gone far enough.
“I beat myself up every day, without so much as a scratch.”
Many of us are the victims of our need for perfection and prisoners of our compulsion to be faultless. Our children, friends and family also suffer from our neurotic obsession with doing everything “right” and presenting ourselves perfectly to what perfectionists perceive is a hyper critical and judgemental world.
We gotta get over that because not only is it a shitty way to feel but it’s also fucking exhausting. The anxiety that consumes us in our fixation with perfection leaves us in a constant state of stress that is no fun to witness and leaves no room for collaboration and outside contributions.
“Perfection is a trifle dull. It is not the least of life's ironies that this, which we all aim at, is better not quite achieved.”
W. Somerset Maugham
The possible exception to this rule is in our working lives although I - and most mental health professionals - agree that giving the job “your all” all the time is not only impossible it often leads to the mismanagement of time and a waste of energy and personal/professional resources.
We’re all imperfectly imperfect. To truly achieve any measure of peace of mind learning to accept and be satisfied not only with our own good enough efforts and results but also the perfectly good enough contributions and endeavours of others is absolutely crucial. We need to cut ourselves and everyone else some slack. It’s also the nice and generous thing to do for them and you.
The next time you find yourself chasing “just right” take a second and ask yourself “is it good enough?”. If it is then stop. Chill out, slow down, sit down, take a nap, move on to your next
To Do and then don’t do that perfectly either.
For hard core perfectionists trying to embrace a good enough philosophy (like most things worth doing) takes practice and a fair amount of courage. But as soon as you realize that the sky’s not going to fall, that people will still like and respect you - maybe even more now that you’re so chill - and that a job done good enough is a good enough done job you’ll feel what I can only describe is the emotional equivalent of getting home at the end of a long hard day and finally wrestling your bra off. Ahhhhhhhhhh
Article by VERVE Founder & CFO (Chief Feminist Operative) Anna Quick Palmer