Do you ever feel like if something’s “good enough”, then it’s not quite there yet? The whole concept of “good enough” sometimes gets a bum rap. There’s an implication of “Oh, whatever, I just don’t care enough to make it better.” And, believe me, if that’s really the sentiment behind it, then I agree, it has earned its bad reputation. “Carelessness” is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, so an attitude that “it’s good enough” based on simply being careless will never win me over.
But, I truly feel there’s an entire world of “good enoughs” where it genuinely is good enough for the purpose at hand. A world where continuing to expend valuable resources — whether they be time, money, or energy (often all three!) — just doesn’t produce enough added benefit to make it worthwhile.
One simple example comes to mind. When our daughter got married, we were living out of the country in Costa Rica and I faced some challenges first finding the right outfit and then finding the right shoes. The outfit challenge was met by having something made to my design, but the shoes continued to be elusive.
Finally I realized I already owned a pair of shoes that would work. (Unlike some women, I am not a shoe hound and usually have only the barest minimum of footwear, so my owning a pair of appropriate shoes is more surprising than you might think!) Were they the perfect shoes? Nope, not at all. But they were neutral, innocuous shoes that barely showed under my shimmering wide-legged pants, and they were the absolute epitome of “good enough.”
Were they really good enough?
Now, I could have refused to settle for good enough. I could have driven everyone crazy on our limited time in town before the wedding searching for a better pair of shoes. I could have spent money that we really didn’t have for shoes I would probably never wear again. And I could have been miserably uncomfortable in brand-new shoes.
But good enough did the job just fine, and I guarantee you that not a single person at that lovely wedding remembered, nor even noticed in the first place, what my shoes were like. They really were, honest to goodness, good enough.
Even worse is when that striving for perfection keeps you from even undertaking the project in the first place. Have you ever avoided inviting a good friend to stay over because you didn’t have a perfect guest room?
Are there dinner parties you didn’t throw because your budget wouldn’t allow for a meal that you thought was fancy enough for company?
Have you stopped even trying to go to yoga class because you feel so clumsy and you don’t really have the right clothes anyway?
Remember that work project where you fussed and fiddled so much trying to get it exactly perfect that you missed out on another opportunity that you just didn’t have time for?
Do you stress for days before company arrives, making sure everything is “just so” and feeling increasingly resentful that you seem to be the only one in the house working this hard?
When Good Enough Really is Good Enough
Sometimes searching for the perfect shoes is a quest that brings you great joy. Sometimes putting the money and energy into preparing an exquisite gourmet meal for guests is exactly what you want to be doing. And sometimes putting the finishing touches on that perfect room makeover can be so rewarding.
But sometimes holding out for perfection just stands in the way of your enjoying all the imperfect life that is right before you. Embracing imperfection, even searching for it, may be just what you need to bring more joy, appreciation, and satisfaction into this messy world we call our life!
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