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.

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