Why ‘good enough’ is good for you

Striving for perfection has its pitfalls. In fact, you’ll be happier if you aim for good-ish.

We live in a world where perfection is the gold standard.

We try to be the perfect partner, parent, boss, colleague, friend, son or daughter.

We want to deliver a perfect report or presentation, constantly beat our personal best on the sports field or in the gym, or show a picture-perfect life and style on our Instagram feed.

The downside of perfection

But the pursuit of perfection can lead to stress and a feeling that we’re never enough.

Lynne says pursuing perfection leads to anxiety, depression, nausea, sleeplessness and we end up berating ourselves for not doing well enough.

We chase an elusive goal that takes up time and energy that we could better spend on taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

The art of being ‘good enough’

Business leader Lynne Cazaly says instead of aiming to be flawless, we should aim for “good enough”.

The key is to take an “-ish” approach to life – and the good news is, you already know how to do it.

“If someone asks what time you want to meet, you might say ‘six-ish’, which means more or less or near enough,” says Lynne, author of Ish – The Problem with our Pursuit of Perfection.

“Most of us ‘-ish’ already. Everyone has dragged something out the laundry basket and worn it again.

“Most people have had a sick child and thrown something together for work that was ‘good-ish’.

“When we accept a lesser standard, the world doesn’t cave in on us.”

Tips for an ‘-ish’ life

Lynne recommends asking three questions when working out whether good enough or “-ish” is appropriate:

  • Is it doable?
  • Is it acceptable?
  • Is it feasible?

“Ask yourself if that activity or task can be done in an -ish style,” she says.

“Look at whether -ish will be accepted. We have plenty of mostly invisible standards and expectations that we can’t see and don’t share with others, and we can let some of those lapse – or at least we can ease off on them a little.

“And is it feasible? Does it make sense to do this in an -ish kind of way?

“Remind yourself that the best quality on some things doesn’t really matter.

“Next time you feel the pressure to be perfect, tell yourself, ‘I’m going to save my high standards and best effort for the things that really matter’, and devote less time to things that matter less.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.