by Cesare Rocchi

Letting go of perfectionism

by Cesare Rocchi

You have it, there in your mind. Maybe it took a while before you “visualized” it. Or maybe you got it in the blink of an eye. Either way now it’s there, so crystal clear that you feel it’s “mandatory” to realize it. The idea.

You have time, skills and motivation. Just one little obstacle. Your perfectionist tendencies. I just described my younger self. I have a ton of abandoned projects. Mostly because:

  • they are half-done.
  • Client work came up
  • initial momentum was invested almost exclusively in making it perfect
  • another idea popped in my mind

During the last year I have noticed I am much more efficient. I shipped two products. What changed? I learned the value of imperfection.

I learned that perfection is just in my mind. If I aim at something perfect, there are some pernicious drawbacks:

  • High expectation on launch. It’s comprehensible, I spent a lot of time and effort to make it perfect, so I expect something in return, like everybody buying it.
  • Criticism as a personal attack. With all the blood and sweet a poured to make it perfect, how dare you criticize it?
  • False expectation for customers. If you announce something and you work on it indefinitely, people will grow their expectations. And if you stretch it too much they will lose faith and call it vaporware.

Chances are that your customers will have some feedback on whatever you ship, whether you think it’s perfect or not. So why not involving them as soon as possible?

There’s no need to let go of perfectionism right away. The trick that I used to convince myself is “let’s release it, I’ll perfect it along the way”.

The Sean Wes Podcast has a very interesting episode about this.

A great book about this is Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers.