When is “Good Enough” good enough?

frustration

I hope this doesn’t come off as a lame cop-out of a post, but I need some help from you folks.  I’ve been struggling to write lately.  I still have ideas of things to write about, so I wouldn’t really call it the dreaded “writer’s block”.  I’m just not really happy about the way what I’m writing is sounding.  For whatever reason, I’m just not proud of what I’ve written.

So, on this Monday, when I normally would post a new article, I’ve got nothing.  No new post about personal development, or how to be a better leader.  But, this issue does present something interesting that I’d love to hear from you about.

When is “Good Enough” good enough?

I know that a vast majority of people’s procrastination with whatever task they’re working on comes from setting unreasonable expectations of perfection on the finished product.  Folks won’t release something until it’s just right, and since it never is, they never get around to doing whatever it is they’re trying to do.  That’s bad.

The vast majority of time, it’s better to throw something out there and see what kind of response you get.  If people don’t like it, you can get the feedback from them on how to improve it.  And, if it turns out the marketplace likes whatever it was, then aren’t you glad you didn’t spend a whole lot of time tweaking?

But, where do you draw that line?  How rough can your “rough draft” be before it’s just plain old garbage?  If you’re the type of person who wants to do what you do 100%, can you deal with doing something 70% or 80%?  What if you feel like you’ve given it 100%, but that’s just not good enough?

So, fine readers, how do you determine what’s good enough for your standards?  How do you draw the line between trying to Be Your Best, and cutting yourself some slack in order to stay sane?  If we get enough responses, maybe this will turn into another blog post of its own!  Let the comments begin…

Photo courtesy: striatic

13 thoughts on “When is “Good Enough” good enough?”

  1. Ernest Hemingway said "90% of what I write is crap." but we wouldn't know his name today if he had let that stop him from writing it. You have no guarantee that your post will be the most awesome thing ever, do it anyways. A TED talk that you should take a look at is what writer Elizabeth Gilbert had to say about being afraid that she would top her best selling book, and that all her best successes were behind her. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbe

    In answer to your question. When you do everything you know how to make whatever you are working on the best, that is good enough. If you go at it this way, you will keep getting better, and after a while, others will start to see it to. I once heard “ Seek not the favor of the multitude, but seek the testimony of the few. And number not voices, but weigh them.”

  2. I try to live by the policy of "Please yourself first". So for work that I've done, the questions I ask are, "Did I give it my best?" "Was I being honest?" rather than "Is it as good as someone else's work?" or "Will my readership love it?"

    1. Not to be argumentative, but what if your work is strictly (or primarily) for public consumption? I think it's very important not to compare yourself to other people, but why would you not want to make the best (as opposed to a good enough) product for your customers?

      1. I like to think about Garfield in this case. Not every Garfield strip is ground breakingly hilarious, but Jim Davis continues to work on the series. As a result of this persistence he has had a television series, tons of products, and two live action movies. Some of the stuff he writes just isn't funny, and it does flop, but just continuing to go after it has seemed to make a difference.

      2. I think I need to clarify what I meant.

        I do make my best efforts for my readers, but I also understand that not everyone who comes to my site will agree with me or what I'm trying to do. I'm grateful that they stop by and if I don't have what they need, they're free to move on.

        So maybe I should change "Please yourself first" to "Be true to your own vision"? Does that make more sense?

  3. Another thing is that you never really know which posts people are really going to latch on to. The guy who does problogger started off doing a photo website, and his most popular post is something that he thought was really lame. I've already had more views today than I have in a while, and I didn't think the post that spurred it was anything special. You keep showing up and you keep trying, because you never know what people will like.

  4. I feel your pain as it's something I struggle with a lot myself. Almost every time I hit publish I think, "why did I do that? This post isn't any good" – but I then remind myself that what may seem elementary or lame to me, might influence someone else in some way.

    People have reminded me over the years that not everyone is "at the same level" – that we can all learn from one another – and what a tragedy it would be if I didn't publish something because *I* didn't think it was good enough, robbing someone who would never have known the difference.

  5. Asking whether sth is good enough miss one, but all important question:

    "What I want to achieve?"

    When you know that, it's easy – simply ask – "is what I'm doing getting me closer to what I want?"

    If so, then it's good enough

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