May 15, 2022

3 Reasons Why You Should Focus On Progress, Not Perfection

Tamar Nitzan

We are all guilty of being fascinated by the idea of perfection. If you are an entrepreneur, content creator or an artist, you are probably even guilty of acting on this fascination and pursuing perfection in your work. Want to get out of that loop? Keep reading.

Perfection is fickle at best.

As much as we like to romanticize it, we all know perfection can't actually exist. As a global society, we have collectively known this to be true for quite a while. Winston Churchill famously said “Perfection is the enemy of progress” seven decades ago in 1952. 

But if a timeless quote isn't adequate justification for you to drop unrealistic goals and stressors that are holding you back, wasting your time, and likely impeding your overall happiness... Hopefully these 3 reasons to focus on progress instead will do the trick.

3 Reasons why you should focus on progress, not perfection:

1. Inspiration over Demotivation

Rather than wasting your time on unrealistic feats, try giving yourself attainable goals. It’s not about making success seem easy, or about lowering your expectations of yourself, but rather a means to remain grounded and still get some fast and “easy” wins. Setting the bar too high is a huge demotivator, while having measurable and achievable targets can actually be quite inspiring when completed. I mean come on, who doesn’t love a win. Whether you are an entrepreneur feeling pressure from investors, or someone who is reporting to a superior, there is a secondary upside as well! Taking this approach will not only make you feel better about your achievements, but also give whoever’s looking over your shoulder some insight into your work and, more importantly, proof that you are getting sh*t done. 

2. Failure is Necessary

You know that saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try again”? Imagine working so hard to perfect your work, you never even get to a point where you can assess whether you succeeded or not. Ask any entrepreneur, they’ll tell you that failure is an absolute necessity for success. It is true that trying and failing, hearing “no”s or “not quite”s, aren't fun in the moment. But they enable recalibration, increase mental flexibility, cultivate creativity and support overall growth. The reality is that most things don’t come easily, so allowing yourself to fail, dust yourself off and get back to work will be the best way to prepare yourself for some unavoidable losses life throws at you every once in a while. Not to mention, success is all the more rewarding if the road to it was a bit rocky.

3. Move or Die

We live in a fast-paced world. This is especially true if you work in tech, where at any given time, some other entity is undoubtedly working on a similar solution/tool/product as you (or your company). In a lot of ways, success is a race to the finish line. In this scenario, momentum is key, and stagnation is the enemy. By prioritizing progress over perfection you have the best chance of gaining and maintaining that needed momentum. Ask yourself what qualifies as “must have” versus just “nice to have”, and stay focused on moving forward. Quality is important, but ultimately could prove irrelevant if someone else beats you to the punch. Try to find your happy medium on the spectrum between quality and movement, and keep in mind that sometimes the bare minimum is enough for the time being. Going back to make adjustments and improve quality is always an option, and most things don’t need to be 100% straight out of the gate.

Bottom line - don’t procrastinate, create. Accept small failures with open arms. Keep things moving. If perfection does exist, that’ll be the best way to get there (or close enough).

Best of luck in your next negotiation!
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