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JEFFREY TOBIN: Better than perfect

by on April 13, 2014 1:50 AM

Impossible, you say? Unobtainable? Blasphemous?

Oh, p’shaw. Being better than perfect is really a piece of cake. I’m not kidding. Being better than perfect is something I do all the time. In fact, I’m doing it right now as I write this. Wanna know how? Here’s my secret:

Take it from me; it’s hard to be perfect. Being perfect takes a lot of time, energy and tenacity. In all of history, I know of only one man who was perfect, and his life was cut short because of it. So if being perfect is so difficult, why do I go to the extreme to be better than perfect? Because being better than perfect is much easier. It’s also more productive.

The word “analytical” starts with those first four letters for a reason. Managers who are analytical are really important to have around. Analyticals keep track of things. They produce reports about how things are going. They review data. They research. They improve processes.

But if you really want to get something done, don’t ask an analytical. It’s harder for them to make progress because they can acquire what is commonly known as “paralysis by analysis.” Who can make a decision when there are always more data to accumulate, research and absorb? So when does the decision get made? When does something get done? Often, too late ... or never.

Achieving perfection is like approaching the speed of light; you can always get a little bit closer, but you’ll never be able to reach it. So, if perfection is your goal, give it up right now.

The solution to the call of perfection is to be better than perfect. And you can do that by not trying to be perfect. Whatever it is you want to do, take time to make it better, then do it. Don’t wait for perfection because you’ll never get anything done. Does this mean that there will be mistakes? Yes. But mistakes mean that you are accomplishing something. Waiting until it is perfect will stop you dead in your tracks.

The one way to be better than perfect is to focus on the “better,” not the “perfect.”

Don’t let perfection stop you. Get close enough and move on. Doing this is better than perfect, because it’s done.

Take it from me: A few misteaks won’t kepe me from komunicating wut i have to say. My article is done, on time, and is already making a difference — in spite of my imperfections.

Jeffrey Tobin, an international speaker and business coach. He is also the owner of Henry Hall Office Products in Indiana and hosts the website His professional advocacy columns appear Sundays in the Business section of The Indiana Gazette and the Community News page on The Indiana Gazette Online.
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