Perfect is the Enemy of Progress (so Jump In!)

A lack of information and a fear that the perfect choice is not available are two roadblocks to action. If you wait for perfect information or the “perfect” option, you will never take action. So, instead of waiting for or spending energy trying to get to “perfect”, try a different approach. Instead of measuring your action against some vague vision of perfection, measure your choices against the known vision of a current situation. Instead of asking “Is this the best possible action to take”, ask “Is this choice better than the current scenario?”

Comparing an opportunity to the current scenario gives you better information and more confidence to take action than comparing an opportunity to all other possible imagined “perfect” opportunities out there. This lets you take action now which, step by step, will move you toward perfect. And if it turns out to not have been a step in the right direction, well then at least you know and can take another step the other way.

Using an example from software, 37signals’ Basecamp would never have been launched if 37signals waited until it was perfect. Take a look at their change log. Notice that 37signals is fixing bugs on an almost daily basis. Does that make it buggy software? Yes. Does it matter to their customers? Evidently not. Pride in bug-free software should mean nothing to you if the product is not in the hands of as many customers as possible. Launch now, make small improvements and fixes as you move forward post-launch.

Don’t wait until the water is “just right” before jumping in. Just jump in! Life is made for enjoying, not for waiting.

p.s. The real phrase is “Perfect is the enemy of good” or “best is the enemy of the good”, attributed to Voltaire. It’s a common saying meaning that accepting only perfection results in nothing getting done or created.

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