Good Enough by
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Prompted By Perfection

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With my partner in non-perfection

For Maggie …

I’m one of those people who gets a task 95% completed and decides it is good enough.

I’m one of those people who gets a task 95% completed and decides it is good enough. I have no patience with wasting time and energy striving for perfection. My fellow administrator at Cherry Preschool agreed with this philosophy. When we worked together on a task, for example writing a grant proposal, we reached a mutually agreeable point at which we considered our product “good enough” and moved on to the next of many items on our to do list.

As a “good enough” person, I find it frustrating to deal with perfectionists like my husband who have to take care of business right away or worry about imperfections and minor repairs. This is most likely an unfair reaction that dates back to living with a father who paid bills the day they arrived. If something doesn’t have to be done immediately, I add it to the to-do list. Once it is committed to a post-it or added to my calendar, it will be addressed in a timely fashion. If it doesn’t really matter that much, I’m happy to let it go.

Perhaps my lack of perfectionism is not the best thing for a writer. Those initial drafts come very quickly, but editing is where I tend to lose patience. The book I wrote at age 70, Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real, is a perfect example. Once I hit that 95% mark, I was finished. I had no desire to edit it further, although I can now see how that might have helped. Still, I felt done with the project and decided to self-publish it and move on. The book was far from perfect, but good enough, and there was so much else on my agenda of what I wanted to write.

I love to create a photo book and family calendar every year. Part of the fun is playing “Where’s Waldo” with my family, having them look for the mistake(s) I failed to catch. While these projects are wonderful memories, there is always at least one. When I used to make DVDs of family events, the same 95% rule applied. They were never perfect but still delightful to watch.

Very few things in life need to be perfect. Setting perfection as a goal often results in not getting much accomplished. This little essay is far from perfect, but I have tons of things on today’s to-do list, so I leave it here. As my fellow Motown girl and kindred spirit Maggie would agree, it’s good enough.

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: well written


  1. Jim Willis says:

    Laurie, I like your 96% outlook, partly because I don’t think 100% perfection is possible. At least not in this life. And I fear we help shorten that life by stewing over the last 4%.. Good job with this one!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I agree, Laurie. Get the task done, as best you can, then move on. You can’t stress all the time about the little things. It will drive you crazy. I tend to think a lot about things before I DO the task(s), so I try to be prepared (sometimes with checklists), then I just go with the flow and let the chips fall where they may.

  3. Laurie, you claim to stop when things are “good enough”, but from what you’ve written over the years about Cherry School, it sounds like it was pretty close to perfect!

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Your philosophy just makes so much sense—removes stress and needless worry! Easier to get more done as well, and you have accomplished a lot. What an inspiration.

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