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The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

It has been said many ways. The centuries-old Italian proverb says "Le meglio è l'inimico del bene." Shakespeare wrote "striving to better, oft we mar what's well". Economists teach the law of diminishing returns. As much as we may want to, we cannot do everything perfectly, and fixating on that ideal can be harmful in many different ways. If we begin to internalize the idea that we'd be able to get everything just right if we just tried a little bit harder, then we are going to be more susceptible to the idea that our work determines our worth. Praise of our successes might feel better, but criticism (even constructive criticism) will begin to feel like a condemnation of a moral failing. Fixating on perfecting one particular thing also takes your focus from other important projects and relationships. Our time and energy are finite resources, so it is crucial for us to be intentional about how we allot them. Just like we stop and consider before we make big purchases, we should also take a moment to think before we spend the resource of ourselves. Practice saying no, starting small if you'd like. Knowing our limits is wisdom, not weakness, and you have strength and wisdom inside you!

Journaling Prompts:

  • Is there an area of your life that is suffering because you are over-spending your energy elsewhere?

  • If this is something that challenges you, think for a moment about why it does. Are you trying to prove your worth? Are you striving for control? Are you comparing yourself to curated versions of other peoples' lives that you have seen on social media?

  • Do you have an unrealistic or unattainable goal that you can scale back on to free up some time and energy for other aspects of your life? How can you amend that goal to make it serve you?

Feeling like you need a little support or guidance? I'd love to help you on this journey! Feel free to reach out to to learn about the ways we can work together on a personalized plan for you to create the life you want!


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