Tuesday, April 26, 2011

If something is worth doing...

If something is worth doing, It’s worth doing poorly.
I say this to people and they always laugh and then the realization of it’s truth sets in. and they kind of go hmmm. but i don’t think they ever really process it beyond that point. I have been processing this phrase for the last year or so and try to live by it everyday. we’ve all heard the phrase in it’s more recognizable form… “if something is worth doing, It’s worth doing well.” and while I believe in doing things well, I think this phrase has become - “It’s worth doing perfect.” and this is dangerous. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have started something and not finished it because it won’t be done “well.” or the times I haven’t even bothered starting something. I have heard it said that my generation and the people younger than me struggle with decision making and I believe this “Excellence” ideology is to blame. again I am not against doing things well but when the expectation is that only excellence will do then why bother making a decision that could be good, but it could be bad or even worse that it could be almost good but not quite. So we don’t make a decision and hope that someone or something will decide for us and we’ll go with the flow. We have tried to institutionalize excellence to give it some sort of credibility. “oh you want to be an artist? go to Art School.” “oh you want to start a ministry to tell a particular people group about Jesus? You need to go to seminary.” Furthering the message, Excellence is what we have deemed you are striving for and your decisions will be made for you by this institution. There is even a term for people who aren’t schooled artists. It’s called “outsider art” creating a label that differentiates them from learned artists. I am simplifying this of course to make a point, I am not against art Schools or Seminaries. Excellence in the field of medicine or architecture for example is something we want but I am using these examples to talk about decision making and how we go about living our day to day lives being told that someone else will handle your decisions because they can do it well and you can’t. So when we get an idea to do something we shut it down in our own mind before it has the chance to get shut down by someone else. We need to learn to be ok with failure and even mediocrity when it comes to something we are passionate about.
You may have heard that Edison had like 1100 prototypes of the lightbulb before he got the one to work. 1100 failures before success came. So… lets all go and do something we are passionate about poorly if that’s what it takes to get it done and don’t let anyone tell you it needs to be done well to make it worth it.
If something is worth doing... It's worth doing!

1 comment:

Rena said...

I have always called this perfectionism, but it is more just laziness and excuses. I like your thoughts on the subject.