Consider this scenario. It’s actually a rather common one around this time of year. You set out with the goal of finding the perfect gift for a special someone in your life. Unlike every other year, you make it a point to start shopping way ahead of time. You start compiling a list of ideas and check out the different retailers who sell these items. You find that one is a little too expensive. Another idea is a little too cheap. One idea is a little too gaudy. The other idea is a little too childish, a little too red, a little too small, a little too impersonal, a little too intimate… they’re just not quite right.
Before you know it, you’re still empty-handed on Christmas Eve and you’re making a mad dash to the mall to pick up something, anything, because all this time you kept putting it off. You couldn’t find what you perceived to the “perfect” gift and you end up buying whatever you can. Nearly all of the ideas you had up until this point likely would have been superior to this last minute effort. Once again, you vow that you will never do this again and that you’ll really plan ahead next year.
It’s Not Just About Buying Gifts
Unfortunately, this insatiable search for perfection applies far beyond the realm of buying Christmas presents.
Maybe you’re trying to frame the perfect photo taken at just the perfect time with just the perfect settings, except the perfect moment passes you by during your bouts of hesitation and you end up with no shot at all.
The problem that so many of us inflict upon ourselves is that we pit the desire for finding the perfect thing that we forego the products, solutions or decisions that are good. We dismiss the possibilities that are better than the status quo. We cast aside what may actually improve our lives, because we keep holding out for what might be perfect… or at least even better.
The Imperfection of Perfection
We’re taught that practice makes perfect. People tell us that patience is a virtue. The truth of the matter is that our constant pursuit of perfection and our inability to accept anything less than the ideal leaves us with nothing more than an amazing variety of imperfectness. Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. And simply waiting around isn’t going to get your anywhere.
If you want to move forward, you have to risk taking a misstep. If you want to make progress, you have to recognize that only stumbling forward half a step is far superior to not taking a step at all. Don’t allow the ideals of perfection drive you into a state of stagnation, preventing you from actively seeking and accepting that which is better.
You miss all the shots you don’t take. In the now immortal words of Shia Labeouf, just do it. Because doing something is better than waiting for the perfect moment and doing nothing.