If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Poorly

The first draft of this article began in February 2022. I’m getting around to posting it in July. What happened? Frankly, perfectionism happened.

Perfect is the enemy of good. Perfection is the enemy of done.

I want this article to be absolutely perfect. As a consequence of that, it’s sat unfinished, merely an amalgamation of disjointed thoughts, for 5+ months. My desire for it to be perfect has resigned it to a fate of being undone.

Enter the title of this article. From now on, I want this phrase to be famous.

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.”

Aaron Graves

As it turns out, this isn’t such a new idea. In fact, someone much more famous than I has previously said as much:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”

G. K. Chesterton

Ok, so maybe I’m not as original as I’d like to be. But who cares! The idea here is that we not let perfection become the enemy of good. Or, more to the point, we don’t let perfection stop us from getting things done.

We can apply this to almost all areas of life. If you want to drop some weight and get into shape, it’s daunting looking at the prospect of spending hours a day in the gym. Instead of that, focus on just getting moving, whatever that may be. Most of us live a very sedentary lifestyle, so a simple walk around the block every day would be enough to get the ball rolling. And once it’s rolling, you can rely on the snowball effect to continue driving forward.

Take writing as another example. This post you’re reading spent 5+ months sitting in the Drafts application because I wasn’t quite happy with how it was coming together. I was letting perfection stop me from even getting the idea out there! So the fact that you’re reading this article is a testament to my “eating my own dog food” so to speak – it’s me deciding that if it’s worth doing, that is, if this article was worth writing, then it was worth writing poorly.

And poorly written it was. But enough of that negativity! It’s here, now. It’s published! And that’s all that matters.

Inspired by Zenhabit’s Why Perfectionism Stops Us from Creating New Habits

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