When Good Enough Isn’t And Trying Your Best

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I wrote this post long before I ever started 631, at a point when I realized I had been applying my own ‘good enough’ standard for far too long.  Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts about how it’s okay to say good enough and not be a perfectionist and blah blah blah.  I guess I get it.  I mean, you can go crazy if you don’t learn to let go at some point.  But, I’ve seen this so often lately it’s like everyone is repeating each other and making it okay to not try hard because it’s ‘good enough’.  I call bull shit.  Just try hard.  If you know you tried your best you won’t need anyone else’s speech about good enough.  If you’re looking for someone to make you feel better, you didn’t try hard enough.  Do better next time.

631_good-enoughYou know what term makes me crazy?  ‘It’s good enough’.  Gah.  No, it’s not.  It’s not good enough.  So many times, people don’t put in a full effort and are willing to accept good enough even though they know they could do better.  This drives me insane.  When did it become acceptable to only try part way?  The way I see it, if you only give partial effort, and then you only see a partial return, you got what you paid for.  If you want the 100% money back guarantee, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Now, before you go thinking I’m some sortof fanatic perfectionist (oh wait… maybe I am), let me explain.  I think, sometimes, there is a time and place to give your good enough and call it a day.  When you’re faced with a deadline and the choice is to fail completely (by not finishing) or to turn in what you’ve got so far, then you’re going to have to go with good enough.  When your cost-benefit relationship is compromised, and you’ve traded your benefits for costs (either in time, money, health, etc) good enough is okay.

The good enough that I’m talking about is when people really don’t try to do their best.  I realize that my version of best is different than a lot of other people’s.  However, best is still best to the person it applies to – meaning, if in your heart you know you could have tried harder, then you really didn’t try your best, did you?  I think we all need to quit making excuses for ourselves, and for each other, and be honest about what good enough really is.  To me, it’s not good enough until I’ve tried my best.  That means, I’m not finished until I’ve either exhausted all of my resources (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc) and produced something I really feel couldn’t be any better, or I’ve given up and decided it’s not worth it.

And, it’s okay to sometimes decide it’s not worth it.  But, what’s not okay is to call something good enough when you know it’s not your best, and then complain that your result didn’t meet your expectations.  Next time you’re considering the outcome of a situation and you’re not satisfied with the results, consider whether or not you applied the ‘good enough’ standard.  If you did, you only have yourself to blame.  And, if you really did try your best, cut yourself some slack and use that experience to improve next time.