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LM: #256: Perfectionism and patience

March 25 2024 – 10:00am

Perfectionism and patience look similar, but are different.

Perfectionists and the patient both take a long time to finish what they start. They both scrap progress, start over, go down dead ends, and make lots of tweaks in the last 10%.

But the patient eventually ship. The perfectionists never do.

The patient understand good work takes time. They know not all ideas and approaches will work, much of their exploration will go to waste, and the finishing touches take longer than expected.

When the patient ship, they know it’s not perfect. Yet that’s what stops the perfectionists. To them, to ship imperfect work means they’re imperfect – and that problem goes deep.

Perfectionists pursue the perfect, while the patient pursue the optimal.

“Perfect” assumes you have unlimited time and money. “Optimal” accepts you don’t.

Aphorism: “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit.” —Ernest Hemingway

Book: In The Fires of Vesuvius (Amazon) Mary Beard unearths myths about Pompeii.

P.S. Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to suck.

P.P.S. I’m visiting Austin March 31–April 3. Want to go hiking with me?

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