The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good

The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good

Nothing is perfect and waiting for the perfect moment or killing yourself trying to ensure that every thing your hand touches is done perfectly is a sure way to not get anything done at all.

Photo by Jakob Montrasio.

Voltaire, the ever quotable French Enlightenment writer and philosopher, recognised over two centuries ago the dangers of perfectionism. Waiting for the perfect time to do something — going back to school, starting a business, learning a new skill — is a surefire way to never get around to doing it. At the same time, starting but insisting on perfection is a recipe for late nights, an unhappy spouse and early burnout.

Need a little perspective to help with your perfectionist tendencies? Take a peek at previous articles on the topic like getting things done by recognising good enough, getting more done by organising just enough and how to focus on the big picture to avoid the perfectionist trap.

You can download the above image as desktop wallpaper here. Have your own tips, tricks or resources to help stave off perfectionism and get back to getting things done or a perfect quote you’d love to see turned into one of our quotables pictures? Let’s hear about it in the comments.


  • There is no such thing as the “perfectionist trap”. It’s just an excuse for more mediocrity at best or, as is more likely, a shield for incompetence.

    Would you actually go to a doctor who subscribed to this notion?

    • Actually, this is probably the most “competent ” thing – to recognise what is enough and move onto better and bigger things. Analysis paralysis ? And really, do you think a doctor spends as much time on the cough as the heart murmur……

      • Consider this: a cough is an obvious symptom, a heart murmur is a non-obvious condition which will not be found without attention to detail.

        Good luck with your choice of doctors.

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