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As I was out walking this morning, it struck me that in a sense perfection is in the eye of the beholder. For a perfectionist (or recovering perfectionist like myself) this may be difficult to grasp as perception can be embodied and we feel it in our guts when something is “off”.
And yet, perfection in most activities is surely just the limit of our current knowledge and skill or indeed cultural norms, upbringing or personal experience. There are clearly times when we benefit from feeling we have given our all but these days I wear that like a hat – for some special occasions rather than day and night.

On my journey two concepts have been particularly helpful:

Good Enough: Donald Winnicott’s concept of the Good Enough Mother can perhaps be stretched too far at times and yet is helpful. When I find myself reading over something for the Nth time, I will at some point catch myself and ask “Is this Good Enough?” A “Yes” is permission to send it out into the world. And yet, good enough is ultimately as subjective as perfect so comes up against similar psychological limitations.


Best Effort: I’ve been using this approach for most of my adult life and the trick I find is to set deadlines. This means estimating how long we are happy to dedicate to an activity and blocking that time out in the diary and working to that. Once the time has run down, I give it one final quick polish and off it goes. This makes the activity more about the process than the outcome. Once I commit to giving my all and stick to the timing there is nothing more I can offer that day. This is really helpful for those activities where we know that it isn’t necessary or even beneficial to aim for any particular form of perfection.

So, how do you make peace with not doing everything perfectly?


How Do I Make Peace with Not Doing Everything Perfectly?