in Business, Creativity, Marketing, Motivation, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Science

Healthy Perfectionism – Is There Even Such A Thing?

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi

When working with creative people the question about perfectionism often rears its perfectly ugly head.

Often the room divides into two camps. Those for perfectionism, and those against. Granted, some people sit on the fence perfectly happy.

Then come the qualifiers like “aspirational perfectionism” or “healthy perfectionism”.

If the operating word is “healthy” then it shouldn’t be an obstacle, should it?

The reason I’m skeptical about the value of perfection or versions of it is that, like I’ve said before, perfection is an asymptote.

Perfection Asymptote

Pon de replay!

We can reach for it, but we’ll never get there. The question is when is it simply “good enough” for our wills, wants, needs, and tastes?

Now, let’s discard with the word “perfection” and substitute it with “quality control”.

It’s obvious that we need to make sure that the things we create pass a certain level. But setting the bar too high on our first attempt is not going to help us get past the main obstacle.

That is putting something, anything really, out there.

What is the minimum viable product we can put out there? How can we get our point across, not perfectly, not elegantly, not necessarily even particularly well, but just good enough so that people “get it”?

Healthy Perfection

Aah, gotcha!

We can prepare all we want but it isn’t until it’s in the minds, hands, mouths, ears, and eyeballs of other people that we get the data.

From that feedback and experience we learn what we need to improve on for our next version, product, project, work of art, etc.

This doesn’t give us a license to put any old crap out there, well not without consequences at least, but we need to get something out there.

That’s why I feel that while striving for perfection is admirable, we should not refrain from putting something out there until it’s perfect.

It just has to be good enough.

Where do you sit on the scale? Do you tend towards perfectionism or are you more laissez faire?


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