Not Good Enough vs Perfectionism

I had a pretty mind-blowing conversation with a client about the concept of being not good enough.

Like most high achieving Nice Guys, for him anything less than exceptional was not good enough. For example, he expected his trading practice to out-perform the most successful banking firm in trading history, and considered anything less than that to be a failure!

So we got the virtual whiteboard out made a graph to measure the difference between “good enough” and other ratings like “exceptional” and “harmful” (something that I’ll make a big piece of content about later), to clearly define what’s good enough and what’s outside of that.

He had never stopped to think about it before. He’d never asked, “Well, what’s the difference between something that’s actually harmful – like not good enough to survive or to thrive in any way – versus something that does the job. Sure, it’s not exceptional. It’s not amazing. But it’s good enough.”

Most high achievers have never before differentiated good enough from perfect. I encourage you to do the same. Get out a piece of paper: What does good enough actually look like compared to perfect?

And even more importantly, why are you so sure that going for more than good enough is always a good idea?

A barely passing grade gets the same Bachelors degree as straight-A’s, so was all the extra study worth it?

30mins of exercise to the point of sweating is the best for health and longevity, so does staying longer at the gym actually damage your muscles too much?

After making $75K per year, studies show more money doesn’t increase quality of life, so why are you still grinding?

Maybe “good enough” is the sweet spot. Maybe more than good enough is actually harmful…

2 Responses

  1. Notice: if trying hard to exceed good enough doesn’t improve your quality of life now, why would it be any different in the future?

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