If the 80/20 Rule holds up, 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Seems accurate enough. Getting something to 80% good takes much less time than the final 20%. And that final bit can easily take 80% of the total time spent.
Take the 80/20 Rule to heart and two distinct philosophies emerge:
1. Get it to good enough and move on. Focus on getting things to 80%. It’s good enough and frees up a tremendous amount of time, allowing you to get more done. Get it rolling and correct as you go. This gets to the heart of the idea that imperfect action beats perfect inaction. However, there is a fine line between “good enough” and “not good enough”. End up on the wrong side of that line and you’re sunk because you’d have been better off not doing it at all than spending just enough time and effort to make it useless, incorrect, or wrong.
2. Good enough isn’t. Cranking out mediocrity more and faster is hardly a win because it’s the final 20% that really sets your product or service apart. The risk is that the final 20% causes delays, isn’t valued by the end user, or prevents focusing on higher priority work.
Of course, real life isn’t either/or simple. Sometimes good enough is good enough. Sometimes good enough isn’t. The trick is knowing the difference.
Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame says it best: “I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to be badass.” Love it.
Perfection is a trap. Perfection prevents doing. Perfection removes the human uniqueness that makes things memorable, wonderful, and worth seeking out. Perfection, ironically, makes things unremarkable.
Badass brings the noise, static, and rough edges. It turns the humanity up rather than muting it away. It’s excellence enhanced by the individual thumbprint. When we do perfect, it all looks the same. Badass allows my excellence and your excellence to look completely different and both be desirable and worthy. Where perfection slows, badass accelerates; where perfection is a shield to hide behind, badass thrusts us forward into the fray; where perfection is an excuse, badass is a catalyst.
Steve Jobs famously said: “Real artists ship.” Imperfect action beats perfect inaction. I can stall out over perfection or I can deliver my own unique excellence.
Imperfect action will beat perfect inaction any day of the week. It’s easy to get caught up in planning every detail perfectly and not moving forward until everything is meticulously thought through. And if you fall for that trap, you’ll get crushed by someone who was able to immediately execute a pretty good plan.