“The perfect is the enemy of the good”. Bill Clinton once used these words to describe his policy goals (perhaps his life goals as well). A focus on getting everything exactly right, he suggested, would come at the expense of doing a good, albeit imperfect job. A friend of mine recently told me a slight variation of these words. In his version “good is the enemy of good enough”.
Now that the euphoria has partially worn off from last week’s marathon and qualifying for Boston, I find myself thinking about my friend’s words. There are two ways to look at least week’s race. It was good, maybe even really good by my standards, but perhaps, with hard work or a different approach, I might do better. With this approach, last week’s triumph becomes this week’s baseline. While this has the effect of forever aspiring higher, it comes with an equal forever needing to go higher; a lack of satisfaction with reaching the goal. On the other hand, if I look at last week’s achievement as good enough, than I am done. Literally or conceptually, I cross running off my to-do list and figure out what comes next. Here to, this is a mixed blessing. While it might allow me to celebrate my success, this approach would eliminate my discovering how fast I can go. Even more, it turns what is more about process, at least for me, into being about results.
For now I aim for the middle where I feel good. Good enough to dream.