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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is it Good Enough?

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One of the problems that often hinders the work of creative people is perfectionism. Because of high (and usually unrealistic) self-expectations, we either don’t get started, or never finish. How many times have you shared a piece of work with friends, family, colleagues, or even harsh critics and, despite resounding praise and approval, put the work away never to show it again?

Not yet, we say to ourselves; it’s just not good enough.

Besides, perfectionists can’t be satisfied with “good enough” – we aim for the stars and anything less than that is absolutely NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!

Good enough?
Hogwash! That’s an insult to the mysterious and all-powerful muse! We’d rather die than merely be “good enough”.

And so we wallow around in the manic spurts of exhilarating production dissipated by abusive self-ranting. When the tides come and go rapidly, it’s exhausting; when they slow, it’s simply a life defined by manic depression.

 And that sucks.

I can’t say I’ve overcome the curse of perfectionism, but during one of my seasons of psycho-therapy, I gained a useful tool: it’s good enough.

No, really! This is a great tool! Don’t stop reading yet – give me a chance to explain.

“Good enough” is BETTER than nothing, and while we are waiting for perfection (in other words, beating ourselves up at every step that leads to perfection ), we create NOTHING.

Now let me tell you, if you want cause for punishment, it’s NOTHING.  You want to feel lousy about yourself? Try this one: I’m a creator who creates NOTHING.

Now, that’s shameful.

Roll that thought around in your head until it becomes your own. Swallow it so that you really get it in the depths of your being. Go ahead, think about it some more. When you own it, you can get to step 2.

Step 2: get started. Do what you can. Do the best you can do today even though that best isn’t anywhere near the best you believe you can do on some other, far-away fictitious day. Then say to yourself, “it’s good enough.”

Now, believe it.

Here’s a grain of truth: “Good enough” really is GOOD ENOUGH, and that is faaaaaar better than nothing.

What have you created today – GOOD ENOUGH, or NOTHING?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Speaking of a perfectionist, I had a typo on my comment so I deleted it! Need I say more? Yes! I didn't think of myself as a perfectionist; I thought I had got past that with my practicing and teaching the Workshop Way philosophy brought into being by Sister Grace. But the symptoms you described hit me in the face with reality. Then I deleted my comment because I left off the "e" at the end of were. So... I'm going to get busy on Step one so I can move onto Step 2 so I can post something on my blog this coming week. Thanks, River, you continue to be just what the doctor prescribed for me, a true friend!