Perfection Isn’t the Goal

I often wonder if what I'm teaching artists stresses perfection too much and doesn't allow for experimentation. Today's newsletter from David Allen (whose book is featured in the left column) was right on target:

Productivity Principle no. 89

Perfection and productivity are mutually exclusive.

One of the most powerful forces promoting procrastination is not necessarily the desire for perfection, but its evil twin: the fear of imperfection. If you don't engage with something, you can maintain the illusion that you're capable of its flawless execution. But if something must be right before you express it, you hold back in repression. If it must be faultless before you get involved, you will become a master of avoidance. If you're waiting to know something before you do something, you'll remain in ignorant inactivity. A willingness to be as vulnerable as you are, risking the void of putting yourself out there and getting yourself going without the security of total perfection, is the essence of productive living. You may achieve perfection, which is most easily found in the realization, not the creation, of it. But not if you worry about its absence.

Copyright 2006, David Allen & Company. All rights reserved.

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