Life teaches us to avoid perfection. The countless days and nights spent tweaking that bit of code, moving that design element a few pixels or rewriting that sentence for the Nth time… You can go too far and end up with a result which would neither meets your expectations nor justifies spending so much of the finite resource – time.
On the one hand it’s always better to achieve a tangible result which may not be perfect than to have something remain forever unfinished, on the other, a result which is not above the rest will neither benefit you nor society and is therefore not worth wasting time on.
So herein lies the conflict. Should you always go for the result, a quick win, or play the long game and polish something until you see that mirror shine? The answer as any challenge in life is never straightforward, the key, however, is finding a balance.
One of the best know perfectionist of modern age is a person that some hate while others admire. A person known for taking things to far, sometimes, to the detriment of the final result. That person’s perfectionism played a key part in making Apple, NeXT and Pixar one of the most influential companies of the modern age.
Even though NeXT as a company did not gain substantial traction, the NeXT Computer and “its object oriented development tools and libraries were used by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN to develop the world’s first web server software, CERN httpd, and also used to write the first web browser, the WorldWideWeb.”
In case you’re wondering the perfectionist’s name is Steve Jobs, but even a person like Jobs wasn’t able to find the balance from the start, he got ousted from Apple due to his temperament. Steve, however, did not give up, he changed and returned to Apple a different man, no longer was Jobs a non compromise perfectionist, he learned to work with people and he learned where to stop. As we know his return led to the creation of the iPod, iPhone, MacBook Air and iPad, devices that transformed our daily lives and the way we think of personal computers.
Not everyone has to be like Steve Jobs, one may choose to have a very successful career by learning to do things fast and achieving acceptable results, however, it’s unlikely such person coud change the world, become the next legendary CEO and inspire others to make movies and write books about him.
If you want to make an impact, be a perfectionist at heart and inspire others to become perfectionists. Don’t take the first thing for an answer, learn to challenge, learn to inspire, learn how to make others challenge themselves, be sure to recognize those that have talent, avoid those that don’t share the same values or drag the result down. Know when to stop and move on to the next thing. Pay attention to detail but always keep the full picture in sight.
– Martin Shreder
If you lack the necessary skills, develop them, learn to become more attentive or learn to let go of some detail.
Even if you don’t become the person behind the next big thing, the sheer act of pushing towards perfection will help others hone their skills, test their limits, think outside the box… be demanding of yourself and others, that way your efforts, and efforts of those around you will have a positive impact on the rest.
This piece is part of the journey “from Inspiration to Perfection.”