IN DEFENSE OF ENTHUSIASTIC PLUNGING…
Dear Wonderfuls —
We've spoken on this page about perfectionism already, right? You guys all know by now how I feel about it? (AGAINST.) For me, perfectly good has always been way better than perfect. Also, "perfect" does not exist (except perhaps in certain salted caramels) so when you're chasing perfect, you're chasing a myth. Which will probably leave you both tired and disappointed.
Perfectionism is the assassin of so many wonderful things (and remember: you can't spell "assassin" without two asses). Perfection can kill relationships, simple pleasures, holiday gatherings, entire months of your life…and most certainly creativity.
In women particularly, I've found, perfectionism can take an especially destructive turn — it can prevent you from putting yourself forward in the world. You don't want to speak out until your ideas are perfect. You don't want to try out a foreign language until your accent is perfect. You don't want to present your art, or music, or writing, or discoveries, suggestions to anyone until you are absolutely sure it's all beyond criticism, beyond reproach, beyond doubt — immaculate and masterful.
Boy, is that gonna slow you down.
What I keep trying to tell women — especially young women — is not to hold yourself back in the world until you're certain that you are perfect. Because there is not enough time for that. We need you here NOW, as you are, which is almost certainly GOOD ENOUGH. Speak now. Act now. Try now. Raise your voice now. Throw your ideas into the ring now. Show somebody your work now. Ask for the promotion now. Present your questions and doubts and suggestions now.
And please forgive me, but I just have to say it: Not being entirely sure if they were absolutely correct never stopped men from speaking out or plunging in. (See Mr. Allen, below…and a million other examples across the centuries besides.) So join them.
Plunge, plunge, plunge.