Perfect Is The Enemy Of Good

I am a perfectionist. And to be quite honest, it is the most annoying issue I have ever faced in my short life so far. More annoying than the guy in the right lane going 25mph on a major highway. Definitely more annoying than the dog barking in the distance and the cars racing on 663 right now as I sit outside, attempting to write this. Being a perfectionist was not a choice I made as a child; I did not get to pick my own traits from a board on a wall before I popped out of my mother. Nobody did as far as I am aware, for I am sure we would all be “perfect” if we could have. Regardless, I am forced to either deal with the cards I have been given or find a way to alter them. With this card, I plan to alter it until it is no more.

Writing these posts…

Trying to sit down for an hour and type my thoughts is not all that difficult for me as I am simply writing what comes to mind. Attempting to write a post about black and white photography or something that is a little bit more focused is where the difficulties come crashing in. There are many times when I am writing with everything going pretty well before all my thoughts seem to disappear and my mind begins to close for the night. I guess this is often called writer’s block. No matter what you call it, I hate it and I know everyone else who writes does as well. But that is not the major issue for me. Writer’s block can be overcome sometimes by simply looking up from the computer and allowing your mind to wander.

Where the real troubles come in to play is when I get to a certain point and I can no longer form the sentences correctly. When I begin to make silly grammatical mistakes and I force myself to go back and fix them. It throws off my train of thought, leading to me deleting the document as a whole rather than taking a short break from writing. Currently the note section in my phone is filled with ideas for this blog, ranging from personal stories to more photography related posts. Yet the articles I find myself writing are not hidden within this note section for I cannot get myself to focus. It is a rather crushing feeling to know that this is happening, to know that it would take less than an hour to write an article if I could just ignore my mistakes and allow my fingers to find the words I wish to write.

My fear of failure holds me back…

If I had to point out one thing that keeps me from writing what I want to, that keeps me from just sitting down for an hour or more and writing, I would say it is my fear of failure. The fear that I will not get noticed, that nobody will even bother to take a few minutes of their time to read my short little blurbs. I must get over this.

Right now is where my mind tells me to simply delete what I have written so far, go inside and forget I even started. And maybe I should. Maybe this will turn to shit and nothing good will come to it. But maybe it will be a hit and get me thousands of views. It’s not truly realistic but it is definitely a possibility. That is just what I will have to think about every time I go to write an article. I must think that it will be a hit, that it will go viral and millions of people will visit my website. The moment that I think negatively about my work is the moment that my work goes sour.

So I must fight back my fear of failure and the everlasting thought that my writing must be perfect. I must remember that this is a blog, a place for me to write out my thoughts without fear of judgement (hence the comments being turned off). This should be my sort of “safe zone” where I do not have to worry what others will think. I can simply write whatever the hell I want to in my own way and not bother with anyone else’s opinions.

I have goals…

And if I am consistently beating myself up, constantly fighting and telling myself that my work is no good, I will get nowhere. My photography will not become popular, my writing will not help anyone and my name will not be well-known. These goals will never be accomplished if I am hiding my work from the world until I believe it to be perfect. And I know that I will never think of any of my work as being perfect, for perfection does not exist. It never has and it never will, regardless of what Donald Trump or Kim Jong-Un think. They are far from perfect – that should be obvious. But we all are and that is okay.

Personally, I will always find myself struggling to write these articles for I am sure I will want to delete many of them. There will be many pictures that I make that will not be shown to the world, determined to be “not good enough.” Hopefully you do not face the same troubles but – in all reality – I know you will. But we must push past it, fend off the thoughts and release work that may be less than ideal.

Perfect is the enemy of good…

An aphorism from the 1600s of the saying “the better is the enemy of the good,” I believe this says it all. The thought that your work can be better will always be fermenting in the back of your mind; as artists, we all face this. Dancers will always think that the performance they choreographed could be better if they added a few more leaps; painters will always think that if they simply added one more tree to their work, it would turn it from a one dollar painting to a one million dollar painting. Yet this is rarely the case. More often than not, the add-ons that you place are the ones that kill your work and cost you the job. They are the ones that the viewers will tell you – if not to your face than online – should have been left out.

I shall leave you with this:

Forget about your work even having the slightest possibility of being perfect. Screw the people that tell you “this would be better if…” for they do not know a damn thing about you and what you want. Take criticism with a grain of salt for – while some can be valuable – many times it is from another artist who does not know much more than you.

Thank You

Cody Schultz

2017