Perfect is the Enemy of Good – Here are 8 Arguments

by / ⠀Blog Career Advice / July 27, 2022
perfect is opposite of good

Often, the idea of perfecting something is all it takes to push someone over the edge. For example, trying to be the best at everything can quickly lead to frustration, stress, and anxiety. While there are definitely some benefits to being a perfectionist – such as staying organized and focused – in the words of the late Voltaire, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” This is because many drawbacks can prevent you from achieving your goals.

To be successful, you need to accept the good and the bad – letting go of the desire to be perfect.

In this post, we’ll discuss why “perfect” is the enemy of the good and provide tips on overcoming perfectionism and achieving success without sacrificing your quality of life.

8 Arguments to Show Why Perfect is the Enemy of Good

It Leads to Negative Effects on Your Productivity

Trying to be perfect often leads to stress and anxiety, which can negatively affect your productivity. Saying “good enough” is a better mindset when it comes to working.

Allowing yourself room for errors allows you to get things done – even if the end result is not “perfect.”

When you’re not constantly striving for the impossible, you can focus on the important things – like producing great work that is meaningful and valuable to you and your team.

It Makes It Difficult to be Compassionate and Understanding

It’s easy to get perfectionism entrenched in our minds – it becomes the enemy of good. Perfectionism can be a mask for other emotions, like anger, frustration, and guilt. When driven by perfection, we tend to become less forgiving and more judgmental of others.

We lose focus on the things that really matter, like our customers’ needs and wants. In the long run, this can have negative consequences for our business. For example, we may not take the time to understand our customers or end up making mistakes that lead to dissatisfied customers.

Perfectionism Gets in the Way of Your Ability to Take Risks

When we’re perfectionistic, we often limit ourselves as we just want to do what’s perfect with regular societal standards and wander into unchartered territories. This stops us from taking risks and can be a barrier to creativity and innovation.

In order to achieve the best results, it’s important to find the right balance between perfectionism and the ability to take risks. This way, you can be successful while still enjoying your life and living in the moment.

Perfectionism Robs You of Time and Energy

Trying to be “perfect” actually takes away from your quality of life. This might be one of the biggest reasons why perfect is the enemy of good. It’s impossible to be perfect and still have time for other things in life. The pressure to meet this unrealistic standard can lead to stress and burnout.

It can lead to missed opportunities, poor work performance, and depression when it becomes an obsession.

Perfectionism Leads to Stress and Anxiety

There’s a reason perfectionism is often called the enemy of the good – it’s because it’s destructive. Perfectionism breeds fear and anxiety, which can lead to a slew of negative outcomes. In fact, in a study, perfectionism is linked to pathological worrying.

When we’re constantly striving for perfection, it’s hard to meet the goals we set for ourselves. This can lead to these negative emotions. Instead of striving for the impossible, try taking small steps that will get you closer to your goal.

This way, you’ll feel good about your progress and be in a better position to take the necessary actions to meet your goals.

Perfectionism Can Be Destructive

Perfectionism can be destructive on many levels. It can lead to poorer mental health outcomes, such as guilt, inadequacy, poor sleep, and depression. It can also prevent us from achieving our goals, as we’re too focused on the “perfect” solution rather than the one that can get us good enough results, which is often the fastest and less hectic way.

Additionally, by focusing on the “perfect” solution, we often miss out on good options that are available to us. So, try to break the cycle of perfectionism by recognizing the good in your work and accepting the “good enough” answer instead of the “perfect” one.

Perfectionism Can Make It Hard to Take Feedback Well

Perfectionism is a toxic mindset that can lead to cheating, lying, and other bad behaviors.

When we’re striving for perfection, it becomes difficult to accept constructive criticism. This often leads to lousy work because we refuse to make any changes or change ourselves.

Perfectionism Takes Away Time and Energy You Could be Spending on More Important Things

There’s a reason the saying “perfect is the enemy of the good” is so true. When you’re perfectionistic, you’re often focused on things that are impossible to achieve. This leads to exhaustion and even burnout. Instead of striving for the unattainable, set attainable but still challenging goals.

For example, aim to complete a task in half the time it would typically take you. This way, you’re still making progress, and the goal isn’t completely out of reach. And remember, the enemy of good is perfectionism – don’t let it take over your life.

How Can I Be Content with Achieving “Good” Instead of “Perfect”?

We’re all driven to achieve “perfect” results, but is this really the best path to follow? Often, the pursuit of perfectionism leads to frustration and disappointment. Instead of striving for an impossible goal, try setting more realistic goals and aiming for gradual improvements.

When you’re content with good rather than perfect, many other things in life become easier and more enjoyable. Instead of dwelling on the past or the future, take some time to reflect on your own accomplishments – when was the last time you were truly happy with what you had achieved?

The key is to approach life with a mindset of gratitude and remember that perfectionism is an enemy of productivity and happiness. That said, here are some practical steps to take to curb your desire to be a perfectionist:

Get the Bare-Minimum Done and Then See How Much More Work Needs to Be Done

When first starting a new project, aim for the “bare minimum.” Do enough just to get the job done. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed and frustrated if the workload is too much. Once you complete your task, take a look at what else needs finished and see where your limitations lie.

Create Challenging yet Achievable Goals:

Instead of setting goals that are completely out of reach, set challenging yet achievable objectives. For example, aim to complete a task in less than the time it normally takes you.

This will keep you on track and stay motivated without giving you time to focus on perfecting every aspect of it while also providing a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

Set Deadlines and Stay Accountable:

When you set deadlines, make sure you’re actually going to meet them. Admit when things get tough and ask for help from friends or family members – they’ll be happy to lend a hand.

No matter what, be strict with the deadline and don’t try to take more time to perfect things.

Don’t Be Afraid of Failure:

Failure is a part of life – it’s what leads us down new paths and makes us stronger. Embrace it as a crucial part of the learning process, and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Remember, even if your first attempt fails, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the project entirely. Failure always breeds lessons.

Don’t Be Perfect – Be Resourceful!

In the end, striving for perfection often leads to negative outcomes, which is why perfect is the enemy of good. By recognizing the negative effects of perfectionism, you can start to make changes that will help you meet your goals more resourcefully. So, be patient and allow good to triumph over “perfect” – it’ll be worth it!

Remember, perfectionism is not the key to a happy or fulfilled life. It can often lead to you feeling stress and anxiety. Instead of striving for unrealistic standards, focus on taking small steps towards success. Be content with what you’ve accomplished, and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned – that will only make matters worse.

About The Author


Taha Khan is a professional content writer by trade. He is a business administration graduate with a focus and interest in marketing and entrepreneurship. Khan has been working as a content writer for several years and has collaborated with 100+ businesses on their content marketing projects. When not writing, he is probably reading – mostly going through psychology and philosophy books. And when Khan is not reading, he is gaming on his PC – another hobby mostly associated with introverts.