The Mihir Chronicles

Letting Go Of Perfectionism

January 19, 2024

Perfection isn't nature's way. It has continued to experiment for billions of years, and yet we are in constant motion of searching for perfection.

Isn't perfection based on individual perception? How do you quantify perfection? How does an artist reach a stopping point and share his or her work with the world? For an incremental change, is it worth loading your cognition? Will it make a huge difference? I continue to ask myself these questions and challenge whether perfection is attainable.

I look to the world and nature to find answers.

First, we do not live in a controlled world. We are seeking for consistency, but the world we operate in is constantly changing. There are lessons to be learned from natural evolution where organisms are going through constant mutation and evolution. The world is constantly expanding and shrinking creating a dynamic environment. This is why adaptation plays a key role for survival.

Second, perfection requires uniformity, but we know everything in nature is unique. Biodiversity plays a critical role in the ecosystem. Welcoming diversity has an advantage.

Third, perfection requires specialization. But we know in a specialized world, we are our own limiting factors because we cannot imagine everything. And if we cannot imagine everything, we cannot have appropriate feedback mechanics in place. To prove this point, no one imagined pandemic in 2020. Every guru that made prediction for 2020 was now in trouble. Specialists start out faster creating immediate gratification. They come out earlier but soon reach a plateau. Generalists start out slower with later gratification with room for a ton of growth. Specialization has drawbacks.

If perfection is unattainable then how do you operate in an uncertain world?

Think long-term. How do you think long-term? Getting the short-term is much harder to target with precision. It is much easier to predict long-term if you have a north star that is several years out. This gives you a lot of room to fail and adapt. Getting the trajectory is not critical as long as you reach your final destination in long-term.

Long-term thinking requires resiliency and optimism.

Resiliency is hard to find in resumes. Great people know how to overcome adversity. If you have emotional intelligence, you can execute in life and overcome failures. You want to be able to survive for years and decades. Mistakes make you resilient overtime.

Optimism yields resiliency. If you fail and want to get back up, pessimism is not going to help. You want to be optimistic but not inflamed with over-confidence. It can blind you. You want to balance your short-term paranoia with long-term optimism. But in the end, progress requires optimism.

Optimism and resiliency is not enough. You got to make moves. Be decisive. But how?

First look.

In your search for information, you never want to stop too early or too late. You should set aside enough time to explore your options and gathering data. You shouldn't be judgmental while exploring. Know when to stop because not making a decision is hurting you and costing you money and time. The optimal strategy is walking the tightrope between looking too much and not enough.

Then take a leap!

You'll never get everyone to agree to a decision. The best thing you can do is to commit to a decision as long as you trust your or your team's judgment. Gamble with someone who is on the front-line. Being decisive increases velocity. And in the event of a decision not yielding results, you have now put an end to arguments and opinions that was slowing you and your team down. You have information to act on for next steps.

Make decisions to let go of the pursuit of perfection.

The rules of nature are that it evolves, changes and adapts. We should learn this too.

Perfectionism is the voice of an oppressor. Don't let it be your enemy.