Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 05/16/2022
When you’re 80% ready, move.
I’ve found that the final 20% of effort you put into a book isn’t appreciated by the reader; the final 20% invested in a speech isn’t comprehended by the audience; the final 20% sweated in preparation for a meeting is never required.
We tend to invest our time out of proportion to the likely return on that investment. Most of your labor, stress, energy, and time go into that final 20%, which makes such pursuit unduly labor intensive. I was at a strategy meeting with an entrepreneur once when he mentioned that he was spending about 75% of his time and efforts on what was now only about 10% of his business.
The other three of us said almost in unison, “Stop it!”
I’m not talking about a race where you should never let up until you cross the finish line (run through the tape), or a sport where you have to play your hardest until time expires (unless there’s no chance of being caught, in which case you put in your reserves).
I’m talking about incessantly rewriting and reorganizing, wondering if you should have five key points instead of four, two more stories in the speech, two more charts in chapter four, or still more food for the party. (My wife is Italian, so no matter how great the party, we always have enough food left to feed my college alumni association.)
There is no such thing as a free lunch, we understand. But there’s also no such thing as a perfect lunch.
A long time ago my therapist stopped me in mid-sentence as I was pontificating about some minor shortcoming. “For God’s sake, Alan,” he yelled, “life is about success, not perfection!”
And at that point I began a new, free, exciting life.
Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough—that we should try again. —Julia Cameron
In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism. —Hannah Arendt
Perfectionism becomes a badge of honor with you playing the part of the suffering hero. —David D. Burns