Knowing Good Enough Is Good Enough OR The Myth Of Excellence

By Gene Monterastelli

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One of my favorite types of work is working with clients who are building businesses. I have always loved the creation of businesses. For me it is like a giant real world word problem (which I think is a good thing).

Recently one of my clients, “Jane” bumped into an interesting problem. She was in the process of building a web site and wasn’t sure what she wanted it to look like. She was building her web site with wordpress that allows users to quickly and easily change the look and feel of the web site. With the click of a single button the entire design of the site can be changed by changing from one theme to another.

If you do a search on-line there are thousands of free wordpress themes. In just a few seconds (literally) you can update your site with one of these themes. Jane had become overwhelmed with the choices. She wanted the web site to be just perfect.

I find the concept of “just perfect” is very interesting. What does just perfect mean. Often times we believe that just perfect means that is has to be top of the line. It means that it needs to be in the top one percent. It needs to be better than everyone else. But is that really the case?

I don’t think it is. Often time’s just perfect means that it is doing its job. In the case of building a new web site for someone who is going to be providing information to a possible client base “just perfect” means the site is easy to navigate, easy to understand, and isn’t distracting in the way it looks. It is perfectly acceptable to have a logo that only cost $40 verses $4000. It is perfectly acceptable have everything in easy to read pain text and not some super-fancy flash animation.

In this case the web site is a delivery system of really good content. Jane’s readers are going to coming to the site because of what they are going to learn, not because it is designed beautifully.

This is not to say that beautiful design is bad or that no thought needs to be given to the look and feel of the web site. What is important is to understand what good enough is. Especially when we are starting, good enough is what we are shooting for.

(For example my favorite web design of all time is the Google home page. Easy to use. Look clean. Everything that is needed and nothing more. Sometimes the logo is different based on the day, making you smile. It is “just prefect”.)

It is amazing that many of us feel like we have failed when something is good enough. We are even temped to say it is “just” good enough. We have been taught to strive for better. We have been encouraged to dream. We long for a richer life.

But this doesn’t mean that everything has to be the best. Many times good enough is good enough.

It reminds me of something that happened to my father. He needed to pass a test for his work to add a new certification allowing him to sell a new product. It was a product that he had a deep understanding of, but he need to demonstrate his knowledge on a very specific test. Over the course of a few weeks he studied a great deal. To pass the test he needed a 70. When get got home from the test I asked him how he did. He said, “I received a 74…I studied too hard.”

When struggling with the need to be prefect when good enough is just that we can tap on something like this:

It is important that I continue to strive in my life…there are parts of my life that I would like to be richer…there are relationships that I would like that are fuller…there are gifts and talents of mine that I want to share with the world…but this doesn’t mean that everything has to be the best…it is important that I keep all of my goals in perspective…just because something some thing can be done better doesn’t mean that is has to be done better…my laundry needs to be folded good enough…my bed needs to be made good enough…my car needs to be parallel parked good enough…it is possible for me to do all these things better…but nothing would be achieved by the extra effort…there are so many things I would like to grow into…that I need to only spend as much time as needed on each task…I don’t want to do less that is necessary…but it is important that I keep everything in perspective…what is essential is the final goal…not each of the pieces…I give myself permission to be comfortable with good enough…and know that good enough isn’t settling…but instead by doing good enough I am giving myself time and recourses to do other parts of what I am trying to achieve…I am going to keep the big picture in mind to understand what is good enough in each situation…good enough is not failing…it is good enough…and that is just prefect.



Author's Bio:

Gene Monterastelli is a Baltimore, MD based practitioner.  He is the editor of tappingQandA.com which has over 200 free articles, audios, and tap alongs.  In additions to working with clients one-on-one in person and over the phone he enjoys teaching advanced tapping techniques.  There is a very special place in Gene's practice for families with autism. 




Posted May 05, 2010 03:13 AM

Excellence and perfectionism are two mutually exclusive matters. Excellence is a pursuit. It is an attitude of doing one's best. Perfection is frustrating. It is never attainable. There is no agreed upon universal standard for what 'perfect' is or means. Thus, no one can attain something that is not defined and universally accepted. I think writers should use spell check. I think that they should edit their articles, books, etc. 'Good enough' is no excuse for being lazy. It too purports to be some kind of standard that hasn't been universally accepted. Again, 'excellence' is simply doing one's best.


Natalie Hill
Posted June 01, 2010 10:24 AM

Gene, from a recovering perfectionist who still finds herself stuck in the "this has to be perfect" loop, I thank you for this.

Especially loved your story of your father saying he studied too hard when he got a 74.

It's so helpful to know when things are Good Enough!



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