Don’t Be Perfect

This ain’t Friday Night Lights. You’re not Billy Bob Thorton. Forget the “perfect” shit.

"Perfect is... blah blah blah blah.."

“Perfect is… blah blah blah blah..”

I once knew a girl in college who was a perfectionist. Every time she had a paper due, she had this vision of what a perfect paper would look like. She’d write a paper and if it wasn’t perfect. She’d scrap and start over.

She’d write another paper. Again, if it wasn’t perfect, she tossed it.

If she didn’t reach perfect before the assignment was due, she wouldn’t turn anything in, because what she had wasn’t good enough.

She made a lot of zeros on papers. Yes, zeros.

I too had visions of a perfect paper when I heard of due dates. I too would think and dream about my perfect paper would look like. But, it seemed hard – so I killed time by spending a few hours not writing the paper. Maybe I’d be on Facebook, or I’d wind up on Youtube. “Only one more video, then I should really get to work on this paper.”

Sooner or later the deadline was near. Now I had to finish the paper. Just, write something, anything. Fuck perfect. It doesn’t matter. Just turn something in. Even sloppy and last-minute is better than a zero.

I turned in sloppy, last-minute written papers. Some of them were actually quite good.

But, they were never perfect.

Actually, some of them were really good. Sometimes the professor or TA would congratulate me and say it was the best paper in the class and I would get an A. Sometimes they were shit and I’d get a C.

But, a C is still better than a zero.

But, the best outcome was when I thought I had a really good paper but got a shit grade. “What the hell? This paper is good. The professor is retarded. What does he want?”

And, then I’d learn what he wants. And, the next time I and a paper due in his class, I’d give him what he wants. And he’d be happy.

It would still be far from perfect.

I might have thought it was awful, but it was what I knew he wanted. Crazy professor. He likes awful papers.

When I knew what he wanted, the papers were easier to write. I procrastinated less. I never bothered to be perfect.

I noticed something. There was a direct correlation with how much I wanted to be perfect at something and how much I procrastinated at it.


Because perfect is ambiguous. It also doesn’t exist.

Don’t be perfect. Just be better.

Improvement is incremental. It doesn’t happen overnight. No matter what you think, dream, or wish. The media may sensationalize “overnight success”, but its all a lie. Smoke and mirrors. It doesn’t exist.




Its a story we love, because we would love for things to be easy. But, they’re not. You usually don’t see all of the pain. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into “overnight success”. Lots of people work their ass off to get where they got. Don’t discount their work by calling it “overnight success”, don’t discount their achievements by calling them or their story “perfect.”

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