There is a lot of value in doing things well. And often throughout our lives, and especially as children, we’re admonished to “Always Do your Best.”
I think this is great advice. Except for when it’s not.
Some of us have walked away from a lifetime’s worth of such encouragement with the notion that every single thing we do needs to be representative of our best work. Every time we clean something up, the results need to be flawless. We wait for the perfect inspiration before we begin a project. Every detail needs to be finished before a task can be considered complete. And on and on and on (there are as many different manifestations of perfectionism as there are perfectionists).
So while it’s great to do your best when it’s important, that doesn’t mean that everything you do has to be your best work. For many tasks, in fact probably for most tasks, good enough truly is good enough. Not every undertaking has to result in something Pinterest worthy.
While it’s nice to have lovely food to look at, not all of our meals have to be plated to perfection. While folding clothes nicely helps them to be ready to wear, not every piece of clothing has to have precise folds. And while having clean floors is fantastic, not every corner needs to be cleaned with a toothbrush every single time.
In fact, my life moves along nicely even when I don’t do any of those things. I serve most of our meals family style, where we have big serving bowls in the middle of the table and everyone dishes up their own plates. I fold our clothes before they go into our drawers, but I don’t think I’ve ever learned the proper way to fold anything, and I iron nothing on a daily basis. And while I do clean floor corners with a cleaning rag, I’ve never used a toothbrush on my floor (Gasp! I know).
I have my own perfectionist traps, but I have learned that for most things, good enough really is good enough.
So while, for instance, I am constantly working to improve my reading aloud skills (as far as I’m concerned, gusto, enthusiasm, and a few good voices can elevate story telling to the level of sublime), most things I’m learning to call good enough.
For me, it’s better to simply get the task done than to wait until I can complete it perfectly.
Does perfectionism nag at you? Are you able to let good enough be good enough?