Perfect Is A Poor Goal

Pursuing perfection is a nice marketing idea, but a little inept as a practical goal. Achieving it might be worst of all.

Perfection comes at a very high cost and the last 1% of it is seldom worth the price.  The investment in acquiring the last 1% of a goal is likely enough to achieve 80% of five other goals.  Many significantly solved problems provides a better portfolio of life experiences than one or two nearly perfectly solved. And yes, I can hear my mother saying you can do better.

Perfection is a trap.

The perfect product or plan is not perfect for long.  You change, the environment within which it was designed changes, and competitors come up with a better version of the product for a lower price. Perfect is not durable, but in the meantime it can transfix the creator.

Suppose you thought of all your decisions and plans as an inventory.

People with inventories always think about how to better replace what is there now.  More or better,  or cheaper,  or with a longer shelf life, or with a lower price and same quality. They are always looking for an edge. A car dealer once told me the key to his success was that he never falls in love with the inventory.

Might be a good approach to decisions.

In psychology there is the idea of obsession. Idee Fixe.  The fixed idea.  A fixed idea, even a good idea will eventually hurt you. It narrows your field of view. It minimizes how much you work to stay current and competent. The world around you changes and often quickly. Old, near perfect solutions will stop working some day. You can only build the protective moat around your position to a certain point. Everything becomes obsolete given long enough.

So, don’t fall in love with the inventory.

Be alert. Be vigilant. Be more ecumenical. Better to use your limited resource to solve 5 problems adequately than to solve one nearly perfectly. Diversification if you will. You would never expect to have all your capital invested in one “perfect” stock. How sure are you of your decisions?

Make and implement decisions with the idea that some will not work out. Pay attention to the reasons you chose a particular solution and see if the decision context changes. If so, time for a replacement.

Coco Chanel once observed,

“The best things in life are free, but the second best things are very expensive”

If you would like the best things to work out for you, you must have an adequate financial plan. Unless your resources are near unlimited, you will be wiser investing in fourth best solutions that provide a better price-cost-value mix for you and your circumstances. There is a price for that, additional effort.

The additional effort is two-part. You need a better understanding of your meaning and you must stay aware of your decisions and how they would be different if made today.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  866-285-7772

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