Why Pursuing Perfect Can Have The Opposite Impact

Ross Simmonds

Let’s talk about perfection.

It’s something that many people strive for. It’s something that many brands talk about achieving. It’s something that everyone at some point and time hoped they could unlock.

But the reality is:

Striving for perfection often leads to procrastination, high levels of anxiety & an inefficient use of energy.

Thus… The desire and quest for perfection should be avoided at all costs…

Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

If you set your bar at “amazing,” it’s awfully difficult to start. — Seth Godin

And here’s one of my least favorite:

“It’s not quite ready yet.”

Unfortunately, I hear the latter way too often when chatting with people who are ITCHING to launch a YouTube channel, new podcast, new business or new blog. They continue to sit on an idea because it’s not perfect. Well let me be the one to break that crutch for you… There’s no such thing as perfect.

Everything COULD be a little bit better.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the course of my life is that sayings like “It’s not quite ready yet” or “I don’t think timing is right” are often just crutches for a delay. More times than not… It’s a crutch that people rely on because they’d rather tell themselves they’re looking for “perfection” when in reality they just don’t want to be judged by their colleagues, peers, family members and friends.

This year I read (and recommend) the book: Courage To Be Disliked and this line stood out to me:

“I have a young friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, but he never seems to be able to complete his work. According to him, his job keeps him too busy, and he can never find enough time to write novels, and that’s why he can’t complete work and enter it for writing awards. But is that the real reason? No! It’s actually that he wants to leave the possibility of “I can do it if I try” open, by not committing to anything. He doesn’t want to expose his work to criticism, and he certainly doesn’t want to face the reality that he might produce an inferior piece of writing and face rejection. He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if he only had the time, or that he could write if he just had the proper environment, and that he really does have the talent for it. In another five or ten years, he will probably start using another excuses like “I’m not young anymore” or “I’ve got a family to think about now” 

This is a story that people tell themselves time and time again.

It’s not ready… But when it is… It’s going to be great!

This is a trap.

Why do you think Instagram today looks a whole lot different today than it did 3 years ago?

It’s because iteration and improvement happens with time. Launch today and improve tomorrow. If you’ve ever struggled with this idea of not wanting to press publish or share your new idea because it’s not “ready” just remember everyone starts somewhere.

Take a minute and visit the YouTube channel of your favorite artist and look at their very first video; it was probably mediocre. Take a minute and listen to the very first podcast from your favorite show; it was probably average at best. Take a minute and read the first blog post from your favorite writer; it was probably riddled with meh content.

The point isn’t to suggest you can’t publish something GOOD on day one — it’s to remember that only by starting can you learn, grow and iterate every single day.

Stop sitting on a YouTube channel with 5 unlisted and private videos. Stop storing 50 hours of podcast material on your drive because it’s not up to your imaginary standards. Stop sleeping on your business idea week after week because you’re afraid to be judged.

Go create the things you wish existed.

You’ll be grateful you did.

About Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing strategist who has worked with everything from Fortune 500 companies to startups to drive results using digital marketing and technology.

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“Start embracing execution”. I like that.

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