Perfect is the Enemy of Good: How Striving for Perfection Can Hinder Business Progress

perfect is the enemy of good

Perfect is the Enemy of Good: How Striving for Perfection Can Hinder Business Progress

Have you ever fallen prey to the “perfect is the enemy of good” trap? You polish the presentation until the text shimmers, rewrite that marketing email for the tenth time, and tweak the product design until you’re questioning your own sanity?

If you answered yes, then you might be a perfectionist. And guess what? You’re not alone. Perfectionism is a common trait, especially in business environments, but it can be a double-edged sword. While it can drive high standards and meticulous work, the relentless pursuit of perfection can also hinder progress, stifle creativity, and ultimately hurt your business.

In this blog post, we’ll explore who it impacts, why it can be detrimental, and how to break free from its clutches. We’ll also explore the origin of the famous saying “perfect is the enemy of good,” providing actionable tips to help you find a healthy balance between striving for excellence and achieving realistic goals.

Who Suffers from Perfectionism?

Perfectionism isn’t reserved for a select few. It’s a tendency that can impact anyone, regardless of role or industry. Entrepreneurs might get stuck fine-tuning their business plan until the perfect opportunity vanishes.

Marketing managers could spend hours agonizing over the exact wording of a social media post, missing out on timely engagement. Designers might be so fixated on creating a pixel-perfect logo that they fail to meet crucial deadlines.

Perfectionism can manifest in many ways, but some common signs include:

  • Excessively high standards and self-criticism: Perfectionists often set unrealistic goals for themselves and others, leading to constant feelings of inadequacy and disappointment.
  • Procrastination and fear of failure: The fear of not achieving perfection can lead to procrastination and an aversion to taking risks, hindering progress and innovation.
  • Difficulty delegating and trusting others: Perfectionists often feel the need to micromanage everything, unwilling to delegate tasks for fear of them not being done exactly as they envision.
  • Burnout and exhaustion: The constant pressure to be perfect can lead to stress, anxiety, and even physical health problems.

See this: Building Bridges, Not Walls: Managing Expectations for Sustainable Business Partnerships

Why is Perfectionism Unhealthy?

While a drive for excellence can be a positive force, perfectionism takes it a step too far. Here’s why the saying perfect is the enemy of good and how it can be unhealthy for you and your business:

  • Hinders progress: The relentless pursuit of perfection can stall projects, delaying launches and missing out on valuable market opportunities.
  • Stifles creativity: Perfectionists often play it safe, afraid to take creative risks for fear of making mistakes. This can lead to stagnant ideas and missed opportunities for innovation.
  • Damages relationships: Perfectionism can breed micromanagement, leading to frustration and resentment among colleagues and team members. It can also make it difficult to build trust and establish healthy working relationships.
  • Lowers morale and productivity: The constant pressure to be perfect can be incredibly draining, leading to burnout and decreased productivity. Employees who feel like they can never meet their employer’s expectations are more likely to become disengaged and unhappy.

How Do You Fix Perfectionism?

Here are some tips to help you find a healthier balance:

  • Set realistic goals: Instead of aiming for unattainable perfection, set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Focus on progress, not perfection: Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Shift your mindset from achieving a flawless outcome to making steady progress.
  • Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities: Everyone makes mistakes. See them as valuable learning experiences that can help you improve and grow.
  • Delegate and trust your team: Empower your team members by delegating tasks and trusting them to do their jobs.
  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for mistakes and focus on learning from them.
  • Focus on the big picture: Sometimes, it’s important to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Is getting this detail perfect really going to make a significant difference in the long run?

Related article: 9+ Best Business Books Every Entrepreneur Should Have

Who Said “Perfect is the Enemy of Good”?

The origin of the saying “perfect is the enemy of good” is often attributed to the famed French writer Voltaire, who referenced an Italian proverb in his writings. The sentiment, however, has been around for centuries, appearing in various forms throughout history.

The point remains the same: The relentless pursuit of perfection can ultimately sabotage the very thing you’re trying to achieve – a successful business. Here are some additional ways perfectionism can hinder progress:

  • Missed deadlines: Perfectionists often get bogged down in the details, leading to missed deadlines and frustrated clients or partners.
  • Increased costs: The constant tinkering and refining associated with perfectionism can lead to wasted time and resources, driving up project costs.
  • Limited opportunities for learning: The fear of making mistakes can prevent you from taking on new challenges and learning new things. Growth comes from experimentation and trying new things, which perfectionism can stifle.

Excellence vs. Perfection

There’s a difference between striving for excellence and chasing after an unattainable ideal. Excellence is about doing your best work and continuously improving. Perfectionism, on the other hand, is about achieving flawlessness, which is often unrealistic and counterproductive.

Here’s how to find a balance between the two

  • Define your “good enough”: Before diving into a project, establish clear criteria for what constitutes “good enough.” This will help you avoid getting caught in the perfectionism trap.
  • Set deadlines and stick to them: Having clear deadlines forces you to prioritize and focus on the most important tasks.
  • Embrace the “done is better than perfect” mentality: Sometimes, getting something done, even if it’s not perfect, is better than waiting to achieve an impossible ideal. You can always revisit and improve upon it later.
  • Seek feedback and iterate: Get feedback from others throughout the process. This can help you identify areas for improvement without getting stuck in your own head.

Read this: Creative Ideas that Can Ignite Innovation in Your Business Strategies

Scorecard for Personal and Business Growth

This scorecard is designed to help you assess your understanding of this article and how it applies to your personal and professional growth. Therefore, consider creating a personal action plan to implement the strategies discussed in the article.

Frequently Asked Questions on Perfect is the Enemy of Good

How can I tell that I’m a perfectionist?

Here are some common signs of perfectionism
1. You set unrealistically high standards for yourself and others.
2. You experience constant feelings of inadequacy and disappointment, even with minor flaws.
3. You procrastinate on tasks for fear of not achieving perfection.
4. You have difficulty delegating and trusting others.
5. You feel constantly stressed and burnt out.

How does perfectionism hurt my business?

Perfectionism can hinder your business in several ways:
1. It can delay launches and miss deadlines, frustrating clients and partners.
2. It can lead to wasted time and resources spent on endless revisions.
3. It can stifle creativity and innovation as you play it safe to avoid mistakes.
4. It can damage team morale as colleagues feel pressure to meet unrealistic expectations.

How can I tell if my perfectionism is affecting my team?

Here are some signs:
1. Micromanagement: Do you feel the need to control every detail of your team’s work?
2. Low morale: Is your team disengaged or hesitant to take risks?
3. Missed deadlines: Does the constant need for perfection lead to delays in project completion?


By recognizing the signs of perfectionism and adopting a more growth-oriented mindset, you can achieve excellence without sacrificing progress or creativity. Remember, “perfect is the enemy of good,” and sometimes, “good enough” is really good enough, especially when it allows you to move forward, learn, and grow.


Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Select the fields to be shown. Others will be hidden. Drag and drop to rearrange the order.
  • Image
  • SKU
  • Rating
  • Price
  • Stock
  • Availability
  • Add to cart
  • Description
  • Content
  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Additional information
Click outside to hide the comparison bar

Over 50% Off

Get a Course & Invest In Yourself Now

Subscribe & Get Your Bonus!
Your infomation will never be shared with any third party