Don’t Mayk Purfection the Enimee of Prahgress
By Greg Fullerton
To Too meny many peeple people don’t tayk take akshon action beecuz because thay they spend to too much tyme time trying to bee be purfect perfect.
If there were a contest for the world’s worst speller, they wouldn’t just give me the crown — they’d build a monument to me and my “creative” spelling.
If spelling is art, I write in stick figures. If great spellers dance atop Mt. Everest, I crawl around on my hands and knees in Death Valley.
I used to write stories and submit them to teachers and editors, and they’d come back dripping in red ink from all the marked mistakes. My fingers would turn red just holding my edited papers.
I even have comedian Brian Regan beat — and that’s saying a lot.
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This used to paralyze me. I would never finish papers for fear of making mistakes.
I’ve since gotten over that by learning the following lessons:
1. Just Get Started & Keep Moving Forward
I used to be so worried about red marks that I’d constantly edit myself as I wrote. I’d turn spell check on and there would be a red trail from the entrails of butchered words streaming behind my sentences.
But I learned to get over my paralysis by forgetting about spelling and just getting my thoughts down on paper. I’d then go back and fix mistakes later.
This way, I’d actually get work done. I would move forward.
Everything in life is the same way. If we’re so focused on never making a mistake, we’ll never get anything accomplished.
Get used to making mistakes — it’s the nature of this life. We’re here to learn. There’s no shame in making mistakes — there’s only shame in not learning from them.
Compensate for lack of knowledge or skill with persistence. Others may beat you on talent, but you can outlast them.
2. Focus on Your Strengths
The old mindset used to be to focus on improving your weaknesses to become “well-rounded.”
I don’t buy that at all. Truly successful people focus on honing their strengths, and they team up with other people to compensate for their weaknesses.
I used to think that I was stupid because I couldn’t spell. Now I realize that I just have other strengths, and I’ve learned to get around that weakness by building on my strengths.
In their revolutionary book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton report their findings from a Gallup poll.
The poll asked 198,000 employees working in 7,939 business units within 36 companies, “At work do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?”
They then compared the responses to the performance of the business units and discovered the following:
“When employees answered ’strongly agree’ to this question, they were 50 percent more likely to work in business units with lower employee turnover, 38 percent more likely to work in more productive business units, and 44 percent more likely to work in business units with higher customer satisfaction scores.
“And over time those business units that increased the number of employees who strongly agreed saw comparable increases in productivity, customer loyalty, and employee retention.
“Whichever way you care to slice the data, the organization whose employees feel that their strengths are used every day is more powerful and more robust.”
Focus on what you do best, and use the talents and strengths of others to fill in the gaps of your weaknesses. Think interdependence, rather than independence.
Truth is, I don’t have to be the world’s greatest speller to still produce great content — that’s what great editors are for.
And guess what — my editors love the work! It’s not a mundane chore I hire out to “lesser” people — it’s an ennobling work by people with incredible gifts.
Don’t make perfection the enemy of progress.
Get started toward your goals and keep moving toward them no matter what happens to you and no matter how many mistakes you make. Focus on developing your strengths, and leverage the talents of others to compensate for your weaknesses.
Do that, and you just may receive a true crown of glory.