The Fallacy of Good Enough

One of my weekend projects was to finish a cabinet in my my basement. I took great effort in getting the best materials, lining up all the tools and giving myself PLENTY of extra time to complete the project. I rarely attempt anything of significance if I will be rushed or tempted to cut corners on quality.

As I was instaling the cabinet, I realized it was just not lining up correctly. Being tired and ready to stop, I reasoned that it would be "good enough" and that I would fix it correctly when I had more time in the future. Yes, I was violating my own principle.

The next day I started putting items in the cabinet but my mind was tethered to the fact that the cabinet was just not right. I chuckled as I thought about opening these doors for the next 15-20 years and being reminded of the improper construction that could have been corrected with just a couple additional hours of work. Knowing I needed to take a dose of my own medicine, I removed everything from the cabinet and corrected the problem. It took 2 hours and 15 minutes.

One of the most meaningful quotes I ever heard that guides my thinking today is, The pain of discipline and commitment is measured in ounces while the pain of disappointment and regret is measured in tons. Those extra couple of hours getting the cabinet finished are miniscule when compared to 15-20 years of regret each time I would have used it.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a perfectionist. I have many things in my life that are not in great working condition or that lack excellence. The difference is I didn't invest a significant amount of time, energy or money to create them or they aren't something of critical importance to the well being of my family or myself.

The old saying of, "If it's good enough, if probably isn't" is so true in many ways. What are you saying is "good enough" that in all honesty needs improvement? Some potential places to look might include:

  • Your job skills
  • Your relationships with friends or family members
  • Your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or even financial health
  • Your plan for personal and/or professional growth

Most importantly, will you make the small investment of time to get it right-it all comes down to what you want weighing on your mind-ounces or pounds.