Monthly Archives: January 2016

80% Done is 100% Incomplete

80% done is 100% incomplete.

That thought quote has two effects on me:

  1. It makes me want to complete things that I’ve started.
  2. It makes me not want to start as much for fear of not finishing.

I generally find quotes  insprirational and motivational, but I also feel that quotes like that can pull me two ways.  The quote can inspire me, while also leaving me feel completely and utterly overwhelmed.

Another quote (from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book: Big Magic);

Done is better than perfect.

Ugh.  That makes me feel two things: inspiration and revolt.  Done is better than perfect.  Okay, that makes me want to get some shit done.  But then all I have is completed shit.  That is not very appealing to me.  Neither is the idea of an endless cycle of perfection which this quote aims to disrupt.  Where do you draw the line?

So how do we keep the fear of creating crap balanced with the fear of creating nothing?

Well, we start creating.  We start making what we feel we are good at.  Or what give us joy to create.  And we be honest with ourselves.  I mean really honest.  We need walk the line between having pride in our work and being paralyzed by perfection.  We need to work on our creation – be it a visual creation, the stringing of words, writing code for a coputer program or hosting a sales call.  And by continuing to work, we will continue to get better.  So we don’t have to start at perfect, or even good.  We need to start.

Then we continue. We work.  We get better.  When do we declare a project done?  We declare it done when we realize that the extra amount of time we would take to perfect it would be better spent creating our next work.  We declare it done when we know that is good. When we take a deep breath and realize that it’s time to walk away.

At that  point, put your lovely creation out into the world, or put it away.  As long as you keep moving, you will keep improving.  The things you create will become better.  Here’s a secret: they will never be good enough.  There will always be a better way you could have drawn the line, written those words, or delivered that speech.  The personal and creative growth comes from continually trying and honing yourself.

Thank you.

Life is a Highway

Song lyrics.  Great Song Lyrics.  Great Song.  Now here’s my take:

Twice a week, I drive to a train station about about 50 miles away.  Sometimes it takes me an hour, sometimes it takes me much longer. When it takes me longer, I can usually blame one or two causes: accidents or road work.

The road work has been an on-going project for over a year.  It has been expensive, time consuming and a pain in the butt.  The traffic patterns are confusing, and merging on to the highway adds an addrenaline spike to my drive home.

But when the road has been widened, the lanes are smooth, and the workers and their machinery move to a different project, I’ll forget about all the inconvenvience.  If the road was built well.  If it wasn’t, if one part is missing: the angles of the ramp were mis-engineered,  or the road is bumpy, I’m going to remember the awful time I had commuting from work.  I’m going to think about how that whole load of crap we had to deal with was a waste of everyone’s time and money.

And what would be the worse case in road work: the workers keep their equipment there, no new work is getting done, but all of the inconvenient pain in the butt road work is there for drivers to contend with.  YUCK.

So here’s my point: Life is a Highway.

We undertake self-improvement projects that are sometimes exhuasting, or just make us incredibly uncomfortable, because positive growth is work and the process sometimes sucks.

But much like highway work, it will make our travels better in the end.  We will enjoy the fruits of our labor, and forget the pains of getting there.  BUT if we stop halfway through, don’t clean up our project, nor do we make any effort to learn from our shortcoming, we just made everything worse.

So take on your self-improvement projects.  If not, you’ll be working with dirt roads that are impassible in any sort of inclement weather.  But make sure you keep you eye on your progress, so as to not ruin traffic for no reason.

 

Thank you.