trying to get it right… (or, looking through the window of perfectionism)

‘I must get it right the first time…’

This is the one thought that most successful people don’t seem to suffer from.

And in my humble opinion, this is one of the reasons why the richer get richer and the average stay where they.

I remember when I was in advertising, we would sit there creating our ideas, endlessly.

Until when the creative director said, ‘I need to see your work on that wall by 6pm.’

(For those who don’t know, on the wall is where you present your work… and you say nothing as this man or lady – who knows what a good idea looks like – looks  for a good idea in your work.)

Now, if the director never said what time to present our work, we seemed to keep going… refining this, coming up with that, and surfing the web for some cool ideas… We did all these because we wanted to get it right, the first time. 

We wanted to come up with the best idea ever. And you know what that did to us?

It created unnecessary pressure.

Now, here is the truth that humbles me every time I hear it:

Perfection prevents progress.

As you know, this site is called

And since I’m meant to be Mr. Progress, you’d think I always remember this, but I’m terrible at it.

That’s why it’s 4 years now since I first started the outline of a smashing personal and business book (in my head).

Well, what I’m trying to say here is that, focusing on getting it right, focusing on perfection is the wrong strategy.

Focusing on perfection, is like chasing tomorrow.

That is, there is always another tomorrow, once you get to tomorrow.

Have you ever heard someone say,

Anything worth doing is worth doing well?

Well, I hope you didn’t listen to them because they lied.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well if you are a perfectionist.

And since perfectionists are endangered species, then all we have to do is adopt this other line, instead.

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.

The first Mercedes E class wasn’t perfect, but the manufacturer sold it anyway.

The first Porsche was simply terrible compared to what we have today.

The point is,

Production leads to perfection.

The more you produce, the more you get better and your perception of what’s perfect changes.

That’s the reason why I think perfection isn’t something we should pursue, it is a wrong strategy.

And here is another point.

Some of us don’t have the confidence to start our own businesses because we are waiting for the perfect time.

Some of us can’t follow our dreams as yet because we are waiting for the sign… the sign that all is going to be alright.

Well, I also know people who won’t even go to the gym until they feel like going to the gym… (At least I’m not guilty on this… as all I do is ‘get up and go’. And on my way back from the gym, I usually feel great!)

So, if perfection is the enemy, then what do we do?

We focus on today.

We focus on doing the job at hand, first.

Then do it poorly.

And along the way… we learn how to do it less poorly.

Here is a perfect example.

Not so long ago, the South Korean car manufacturer, Hyundai, used to make terrible cars.

Just check their early 2000 cars and you will understand what I’m talking about. But today…

Today, they are smashing it.

They are selling more and more cars across the world. (Just like they are selling lots and lots of their best selling smartphones – Samsung).

In the end, here is my point?

We must forget about getting it right.

Because most of the time we won’t get it right.

We will get it wrong.

In fact, we might get it wrong many times.

But the good news is, as long as we are getting less wrong than we did it last time, then I guess…

That’s what progress is all about.