“Do not plan for ventures before finishing what’s at hand.” Euripides
Anyone who is assigned a project, has a creative passion, or runs a business knows the struggle that is actually finishing what you’re working on. You know how easy it is to spend several long days followed by late nights on a project, and still not feel totally satisfied.
The reason for this is because you are chasing an idea of perfection that cannot be reached. At first, this feels like the well-placed desire to create something of quality, but when the project doesn’t end up representing your initial inspiration it’s easy to feel disappointed and demotivated.
However, when you try to live by the phrase ‘done is better than perfect,’ you will learn more than just how to finish your projects, but also discover several other virtues that will be crucial to your success in anything you do.
Below are 10 reasons why done is better than perfect:
The worst thing about not finishing the projects you start is that you will slowly stop expecting yourself to finish things after you begin them. This not only leads to a lack of overall results and output, but also a lack of faith in yourself to follow through with what you say you’re going to do.
You’re only as good as your word, right?
- Positive Momentum
You can accomplish more than you ever imagined possible, when you have the strong breeze of positive momentum at your back. Each project you accomplish creates a positive momentum that will make everything that comes after easier, faster, and better.
This is why many authors say the second book is easier than the first, and before long they have a list of best-sellers.
- Publish For Feedback
If you start looking at your projects as experiments designed to gather feedback, you will no longer fear criticism. Everything you publish is only a draft, and you know that whatever comes of it will serve to make the next iteration better.
This is how the pros do more and get better each time.
- Nothing Is Perfect
In your mind you have an idea of the perfect end result of what you’re working on. Usually, it’s based on the first spark of inspiration that motivated you to start the project to begin with. But the truth is, you can never reach this idea of perfection, because it doesn’t actually exist.
Art itself is never perfect, but the rendering always implies perfection. That’s what makes it beautiful and human. And when you learn how to accept and appreciate what is good about what you’ve created, your audience will be able to see it too.
- Settling For Mediocrity
At some point you’re going to have to settle for mediocrity. You need to understand that your boss, your audience, and your customers will be seeing your work exactly as it is, and that’s a good thing. Because they they won’t see the faults you see in your own work.
They will experience what you’ve made subjectively, relate to it in their own way, and find qualities to appreciate in it you won’t be able to recognize yourself.
- If No One Sees It, It Doesn’t Exist
The struggle of chasing after perfection is the main reason why many of the world’s most talented people never get the recognition they deserve. You could be sitting on a masterpiece all your life, but if you never get it into a beta form and put it out into the world, no one will ever be able to know about it. And what good does that do anyone?
Plus, if you get it to a place where others can experience your work, they may be able to help you get the resources you need to accomplish the full vision you have for your project.
- Create A Body Of Work
When you create often enough you will reach an effortless state of output, which will allow you to imbue your projects with an essence of authenticity. And because of this your audience, whoever they happen to be, will feel feel more connected to you as they pore over your body of work.
Plus, you never know which creation will be your best work yet. So, keep putting them out with equal effort and consideration. Then, your audience’s feedback will guide you towards your magnum opus.
- The First Version Always Sucks
Just accept it, the first version always sucks. Think about all the platinum selling musicians whose first albums were terrible. And try to imagine all the first drafts of books that went on to be bestsellers.
No one talks about the first drafts, but they are always necessary. The first versions of anything you do will help you refine your work to the place where it will eventually provide massive value and be loved by others.
- It’s Time To Move On
When you find yourself drained from working on the same project for far too long, then you know it’s time to end it and move on. Everyone knows that it’s easiest to do the work for anything when you’re inspired to do so. But if you’re still backlogged and working on things that inspired you weeks ago, you don’t leave space for inspiration to strike.
So, set aside some time now, finish the project and move on, because bigger and better things are waiting. And by practicing finishing what you begin, you’ll be able to honor the inspirations that come with completion.
- Be Unattached To the Results
The master level of anything you want to do is to always be in the flow of creative output. And the only way to reach this level of flow is to develop the habit of finishing what you start without attachment to the results.
You learn to do the work because you love the process, and eventually you will get the results you desire. But when the results come they won’t phase you, because you know that they’re just inspiration for what comes next.
Let these virtues guide you to success and remember: learning to finish your projects is a muscle. And the only way to build it is to exercise it more often.
So, what are you going to go finish?
Colton Swabb is a writer, author and cofounder of List Liberation, an online training program that helps motivated entrepreneurs liberate themselves from the daily grind. You can learn more about what Colton is doing today and get free chapters of his book here.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.