If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Poorly
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If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Poorly

How perfectionism halts creativity and growth.

If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Poorly

You have likely heard the phrase, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well". Maybe your parents recited this to you as you begrudgingly swept the kitchen floor, or perhaps your teachers and tutors repeated the phrase as you struggled halfheartedly through coursework.

We live in a world that values perfection and precision... And it makes sense, right? If we must do something, we should strive to do it wholly and completely, to the best of our ability. This can include anything from menial chores to pursuing passions and hobbies.

But our culture replaces "worth doing well" with "worth doing perfectly", and prioritizing perfection comes with a hefty price. When I'm insecure about my abilities on a task, dream, or project, I resort to perfectionism, which cripples my ability to practice what I love doing or what I long to try.

For years, I've thought about writing a book, starting a podcast, or launching a YouTube channel. These dreams seem daunting to me, so I hold off on them. "I'll wait until I'm better at writing, or more skilled at photography, or more articulate in what I have to say," I think to myself.

As thoughts of "what if I'm no good?" encircle my mind, I talk myself out of ever starting. This happens at work, in school, and in creative pursuits. It happens when we're alone and it happens in social circles.

Contrary to our culture's mantra, I argue that sometimes things worth doing are worth doing poorly.

Dr. Brené Brown, a renowned researcher, and storyteller talks about the burden of perfectionism in our culture of "never enough".

In her book "The Gifts of Imperfection", Dr. Brown defines perfectionism as "A twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it's the thing that's really preventing us from taking flight."

What if instead of waiting, instead of striving for absolute perfection, you just... started?

So what if your YouTube videos are filmed on an iPhone 6, or your blog has 7 readers? Or the software you develop has bugs, or you can't seem to nail all the grammar as you try to speak a new language?

If something is worth doing, it's worth doing poorly.

Repeat that to yourself, remembering that you already have everything you need to get started. It's okay if you don't have the latest software, the best camera, the best running shoes, or the largest LinkedIn network.

Actress, author, and comedian Amy Poehler puts it perfectly in a video she published about courage:

"The only way you're [going to] find out if you're in the right place is to stand in the place... Great people do things before they are ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they're proven right."

So go out there: get your degree, write that blog, take that trip, go for that run. It's okay to be bad at it. It's far better than never beginning.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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