Originally Published January 27th, 2019
“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.” —Tolkien
I’ve had this quote hanging over my desk for several years now.
“Done is better than perfect.”
As a highly neurotic, overthinking, self critisicing dingus—I think it’s high time I listen to my own advice. No longer will I overlook this proclamation to work more & analyze less. It’s time to detach all emotions from my resulting efforts and simply hustle.
The following is a list of why working creatives need to focus more on work & less on perfection.
PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS
I’m the type of guy who wakes up at 4:30 AM and spends my first waking hour arguing with myself over whether or not I’m wasting my life.
Show of hands—any one else?
It’s like two giant trolls are having an epic tug of war in the back of my mind. In the past 5 years, I’ve probably spent enough mental energy questioning my decisions, to fight off the entire army of Mordor—#lukeskywalkerforceprojectionstyle.
As creatives—constantly questioning ourselves, over analyzing, and searching for perfection in our work—only results in paralysis.
AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT
If you keep waiting until things are perfect, you’re gonna be waiting a long time bro.
There’s no magical brush stroke that’s going to finish the painting you’ve been waiting to share.
There’s no filter thats going to make your photo go viral.
Your Youtube channel is going to remain empty if you keep beating yourself up for how goofy your voice sounds.
News Flash: There’s no such thing as perfect.
Perfect doesn’t exist—it’s an illusion.
Perfection in art is unequivocally subjective. What one reader hails as perfection, another will throw across the room in disgust. —K.M. Weiland
Even if you think something is perfect, someone else is probably gonna think it’s not, or worse—crap.
Instead of waiting for perfection, start something, work on it everyday, and don’t be afraid to put it out into the world. Nothing is perfect, everything is in a constant state of flux—try-fail-learn-repeat.
NOBODY WILL NOTICE….PROBABLY
Sure, there’s probably going to be some doofus waiting to point out when you made a spelling error or mispronounced the word opacity. But the majority of people looking at your work aren’t going to notice or care if you made a mistake.
Instead, hopefully they’ll be inspired by your work and go create something themselves.
Ignore the Haters. Detach your self from your work. Stop caring about what other people think.
What others think of you, is not your business. Deepok Chopra
FIX IT LATER
There’s almost always a way to go back and fix something once it’s online, hanging at the art gallery, or self published in a book.
Nothing is set in stone—unless you’re working with stone.
The nice thing about sharing your work with the world is that you get the chance to improve it. Another set of eyes means more help improving your work—you can always fix it later.
DONE MEANS YOU CAN MOVE ON
I don’t know about you but when I don’t finish something—it hangs around in the back of my mind. I’m always thinking about that blog I never finished, that really cool photo I didn’t edit, etc.
Finish what you started, don’t let things add up and bog you down.
Done means you can clear your mind of one project and move on to something new.
DONE MEANS YOU’RE DOING
Once you start putting work into the world something crazy happens—you start gaining momentum.
Momentum is awesome.
You set a goal to make 5 youtube videos. Suddenly you’ve accomplished your goal. What’s next?—you set another goal. Make 10 more videos—all of the sudden you have some legs to stand on.
If you’re doing the work daily and finishing what you start—before you know it, you’ll have a body of work.
Make your own momentum by doing.
THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS THE WORK
If you want to become good at something—the only thing that matters is the work.
It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, how many chords you can play, how well you understand WordPress or iMovie.
If you’re too worried about being good to even try—where does that leave you?
Start now where you are—do the work—finish the work—learn—fail—rinse and repeat.
Now go finish something.