Success: Why Your 'Good Enough' Isn't Good Enough

by Paul Hudson

What does it mean when something is “good enough”? I can understand it when a person is finishing up a mundane activity that is being completed out of necessity rather than out of an actual desire to do it. In certain circumstances "good enough" can be enough — but only in certain circumstances. Although perfection is unattainable, aiming for it when it isn't necessary or beneficial is a waste of time and energy.

There are times, however, when aiming for perfection is not only beneficial, but actually the best and most rational option. Regardless of the fact that perfection is, in a sense, impossible, aiming for perfection has incredible benefits. When you look at a project and decide that you want to mold it into its simplest, most beautiful form, and make it as near to perfection as possible, you are giving that project — whatever it may be — your unwavering attention.

You are giving the project worth and you are going to put the effort into creating something of quality. This goes regardless of what the project is; it could be your career, one of your hobbies, your personal fitness, your love life — anything really, craft or other.

It's this dedication that you are promising that is the seed of all passion. What is passion if not the desire to create something that is as near perfection as humanly possible? Good enough isn't good enough when it comes to things that matter to us as individuals. In such areas we should give it our all — our fullest of attention.

Our Main Goal

I was going to address careers directly, but then had to rethink my position. It isn't the career that is important. What's important is your life goal — careers aren't necessarily a part of each person's journey. What is important is having something — one thing in particular — that you dedicate your life to. I say one thing because I believe that people are very much like countries. Just as countries benefit most from maximizing their activities in areas that they are most efficient in and suitable for, so do human beings benefit by doing what they are most talented in and enjoy most — all the rest can be traded for, and in theory: everyone comes out ahead.

It takes roughly 10,000 hours — about 10 years — to master a skillset. The skillset itself is defined by what we want most out of life. Each individual wants to touch the lives of other living things in one way or another. Once we come to understand what we want most, we can set our sights on heading in the right direction; the skills necessary for our traveling to our goal are the skills we will have to learn and should focus on picking up along the way.

Our main life goal is undoubtedly crucially important. It is the conclusion of our own rationalizing about what it is that we really want from our lives and from ourselves. Our main goal is one of the most important parts of our lives and therefore should be focused on with as much attention as possible without having to ignore the other equally important aspects of our lives. Because focus requires your physical interaction with your main goal or project, your actions will always be aimed at improvement — or movement towards perfection. Good enough most definitely will not be enough.

Your Relationships

I don't think that there are many people out there that would argue that relationships don't require significant effort. It's when 'good enough' starts coming on to the scene that our relationships or marriages start to roll downhill. Likewise, when finding a life partner of some sort, how could you ever settle for good enough? I understand that with age come certain complications as far as baby-making goes, that sometimes you have to come up with arrangements to have the child you want to have before it's too late, but if you are looking for some sort of mate then you cannot allow yourself to settle if you can help it.

People settle all the time when it comes to significant others. They do so out of fear for possibly ending up entirely alone. It is a legitimate fear, but if you don't think that you can be happy living with someone, if you don't truly love the person, then you are only setting yourself up for trouble or sadness. Enough isn't enough when it comes to matters of the heart because the heart wants what it wants and can spot a fake from a mile away.

A Hobby

Don't underestimate the importance of a good hobby. Often people will have several hobbies, and having a couple is definitely healthy. What's more important than the hobby itself is how much attention we give the hobby. Hobbies shouldn't be things that remove us from the world, things that require us to be stagnant — hobbies are important because by forcing you to focus on the activity itself, they take your mind off other aspects of your life, freeing and reviving your mind.

Hobbies are great ways to flex your brain muscles as well as great ways to clear your mind by diverting it from your troubles or obligations. They give us a better-rounded life and one with as much enjoyment as possible. Hobbies are things that you enjoy and respect. If the purpose of a hobby is to divert focus from less pleasant thoughts, then the attention that you give while practicing will need to increase in intensity as you continue to progress in order for you to keep interest.

The more you focus on sharpening your skills at said hobby — whether it be Call Of Duty, painting, playing a sport or instrument or collecting stamps — the better your hobby will fulfill its purpose. So again, good enough won't suffice — you'll need to and want to push your limits, if you want to live the most passionate and fulfilling life possible, of course.