Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

I don't really like cleaning our bathrooms. In fact, I almost hate it.

It's not the cleaning itself that bothers me. I rather enjoy the physical work that goes into making my home look nice. Rather, it's the self-talk that I hear whenever I clean the bathroom. For some reason, I am super critical about how a "clean" bathroom should look. I want it shiny and sparkly. And perfect.

So as soon as I start to wipe, in my mind I'm already telling myself that I'm not going to get it right. I'm going to leave streaks on the mirrors. There are going to be water drops that won't wipe off the faucets, and grime or mineral deposits that cling around the edges of the sink. The floor won't be completely dust-free. And so forth.

Now you could hear all those directions and judgments as a challenge, I suppose, and then use that as the standard of excellence that you strive to attain. But for me, it doesn't work like that. As soon as I pick up the Windex and start hearing that stream of commentary, I just get completely discouraged. Drained of energy and hopeless. Like why even try?

So I don't much like cleaning the bathrooms.

But it has to be done at some point, or they keep getting dirtier and dirtier. So usually I just grit my teeth and force myself through it.

But, today, today, I remembered a quote that I had read. Today I told myself, Look, you are doing the best you can. Just do it.

I give you permission to just do a Good Job.

And I realized that that was exactly the key. I don't need perfection. I don't need superlative results. I simply need to complete a good job and keep the bathroom sanitary and livable.

"The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. Don't let the Good Pass You By."

I'm going to write those phrases on 3X5 cards and post them on the bathroom mirrors to remind myself. In all of life, and especially my writing, I need to remember to just do a good job. And then move on.

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