Perfect is Enemy of Good

Perfect is Enemy of Good (le mieux est l’ennemi du bien) – Voltaire[**1]

Perfectionism being enemy of good is a knowledge been around for a while, at least for a few centuries. They are sage words, true stuff; just like “Smoking is injurious to health” (- ITC). Of course, there no direct link between these two, except for the fact that generations of adults ignored both conveniently. Our society is obsessed with perfect at the cost of so many good stuff, the ‘not so perfect’ associates with.

There are several versions of the same quote; “perfection is enemy of …

Profitability – please do watch a couple of episodes of shark tank, and you can sense their well-deserved hatred against perfectionism.

Progress – means the same as above.

Productivity – discussed below.

Peace of mind… Looks like they all seem to start P. That is weird, and unfortunately ‘Perfect’!! [BTW I made this one up]

Let me elaborate on the ‘Productivity’ part of it, because, that’s where most of my experience with perfection is :

  1. Starting Trouble: The pressure of being perfect does not allow you to begin a project. Let’s say the project is to create a podcast or tweeting the first tweet. This is as simple as barking a “Hello..” and posting it in any of the free hosting services. Considering the junk that is filled on the Internet, your ‘Hello’ would be a significant improvement. But the obsessive need for perfection plays its role. It brings in dependency, E.g. like right timing, good breakfast, third coffee, stars/planetary alignment, world hunger and Salman Khan’s marriage and so on.
  2. Running Trouble: Invite perfectionist for drinks and task him to sing next karaoke song! He will be searching through the catalogue for the Best music till the pub closes. This is a little exaggeration, but you get my point.
  3. Trouble Completing: Perfectionists keep refining the projects without sight of end in mind. Sometimes it is insulting for others as it appears like they have no respect for the deadline or logical point of completion. They Don’t believe in “Something is better than Nothing”, instead they insist on “Best, or nothing !”. You see a problem here?
  4. Missing all the Fun: Self Explanatory, let me tell you my own example. I used to play two strategic games called “War Commander” and “Age of Empires”. The basic premise of both was to develop your colony by a) mining/growing the resources, b) research war machinery or c) win the war. Underline if the rules of economics apply – that means you have limited resources! Games were brilliant on their own, but I wanted to win this correctly!. Believe me when I say this; I had created a spreadsheet of all resources, researchers and their cost; I applied weighted average on economic factors; and built algorithm on what would be my optimal next set of strategic moves in that game !! I won easy but lost all the fun of it. Now I play sad Sudoku the only game fit my wheelhouse.

I am no expert on the Detox of perfectionism. There are many books and internet content[**2] out there, you can go through those. But if you insist these are few thoughts :

  1. Never worry about beautification, in the beginning, that should be the last part. Content always comes first!
  2. Sprints! Always improve incrementally – one day at a time.
  3. Do not forget to have fun in whatever you do. BTW There is a concept called Ikigai, will write about it soon.
  4. Do not aspire to be an Aamir Khan [**3] for all the time, be an Arjun Kapur once a while. (wink)

Deviation – You know that famous statement from BigB in movie Sharabi – ‘Moochein Ho Toh Nathulal Jaise, Warna Na Ho’!! (Translation: If you wish to sport a moustache, then best to have it like Nathulal, otherwise – Just don’t!)

And for the record, this is not the reason I don’t wear a moustache


  1. Voltaire probably did not create this himself, it is attributed to him as he is the first one to quote.
  2. If you wish more about this. There are tons of creative content on the Internet, please chose TED talks over anything else.
  3. I disagree to Aamir being perfectionist, have you seen Dhoom 3?

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