Perfect vs. Good

Bethesda Angel, Central Park, NYCWell, I’ve failed. Bless me, dear reader, for I have sinned. It’s been two days since my last blog post. Luckily, this reminds me to adhere to one of my personal rules: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. This is a thread, or a challenge really, that has run through my entire life. It’s a daily inner mantra for me. As I go through the process of revamping my online presence, and redesign my website, I am constantly having to remember to just get it done little by little. It’s not going to be perfect all at once, and it may NEVER be perfect. It just has to be the best it can and be there for people to look at. The great and awful thing about designing and editing websites, especially your own, is that they can always be tweaked and changed.

I’m here to tell you perfectionism is not a positive thing: on my worst days it threatens to keep me from simply accomplishing. And it ALWAYS makes me feel guilty. When I haven’t done something perfectly, or if I think I can’t, there’s always the danger that I will put it off or give up. Did you realize perfectionism was such a close relative of procrastination? They hold hands beautifully. So I’ve learned to fight the urge to only do something if I can do it “perfectly” (whatever that means) every day. And it’s tough. It takes a healthy dose of that perseverance I talked about in my last blog post. Luckily, I’m a Cancer, so if you believe in such things, tenacity is something we have in spades. 😉

Perfectionism isn’t just a fault-that’s-no-really-a-fault you confess to in job interviews as a way to subvert that question: “What’s your biggest weakness”. It really is a mental hurdle. I’ve been flogging myself for two days about the fact that I didn’t produce 15 minute blog posts on Saturday and Sunday, but this only made me feel worse. It didn’t spur me to action. And it’s worth noting that a competing rule of mine is to minimize my time on the computer over the weekend if I can. I’m just a happier person when I do this and my brain appreciates the break. So it’s time to forgive myself, and perhaps amend my 15 minute blog post rule. Maybe it’s good enough just to post on weekdays. In my case, the angel of perfectionism is a devil in disguise. So I’m going to continue to do my best to leave this perfect angel up in the unattainable heavenly utopia where she belongs. And keep accomplishing the best “good” I can down here on Earth.

A little PS before I go: I wanted to let you know this beautiful picture of the Bethesda Angel in New York’s Central Park is a public domain photo by sookietex I found on a public domain clipart blog. This gave me an idea for an upcoming blog post that I hope you’ll keep your eyes open for: places to find public domain or creative commons media to post to your blog. And the importance of giving credit where credit’s due. As someone who has worked in publishing, academia, media, and libraries, I think about this stuff a lot. Brace yourselves.