Get your motor runnin', Day 3: Enemy of the good


Anyone who has been (a) paying attention and (b) reading this outside of a feed reader knows that the tagline of this conglomeration of oddities is, and has been from Day One, "A Virgo's Guide to the Universe."

And, in a master stroke of irony, anyone who has not is not a Virgo.

I am asked sometimes what the extent of my belief in the woo-woo is. Not as frequently nor with such pointed annoyance as happened during my years with The Chief Atheist, but still, enough to warrant a policy disclosure. And said disclosure goes something like, "I believe in horoscopes, fortunes and other non-scientifically-based predictors of the future when they portend great things, and woo-woo stuff in general when it provides an interesting framework with which to puzzle out a problem.

The Virgo thing is just such a framework.

As I say in the "about" page of the new marketing project blog thingy, Virgos are "all about the order-from-chaos, the meticulous noting of things: we're, like, the Information Butlers of the world." We're the ones who ask for (and get) bright yellow filing cabinets for our 13th birthdays, which sometimes fall on Friday, the 13th, which doesn't freak us out in the least but which we think is really rather cool and orderly.

We're the ones who don't just create doll villages, but come up with full names, back stories and family trees for the 80-odd (very odd) residents. And type up a town newspaper. With columns. On a typewriter. A manual typewriter.

We're the ones who not only compile to-do lists but add any items we've already done to the lists, so that a complete record is in place.

We're the ones constantly coming up with better systems, when we're not stubbornly clinging to old, outmoded ones, because promise of perfection is constantly just there, one elusive, perfect system/hack/hashtag away.

There is a saying that "the perfect is the enemy of the good." Actually, it is a quote from Voltaire, and thus originally in French ("Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien"), and, it could be argued (and is, quite persuasively, here) that the actual translation is "The best is the enemy of the good." This thin-slicing of hairs is not my point; my point is this:

If you go after perfect, you lose. Because it will never be perfect. And I'm a Virgo, and I know from this shit, because I wrassle that particular bear almost every day. I've gotten into fights over the placement of a preposition in a headline. I've lost tens of thousands of dollars of income fretting over a tenth of an em-space in kerning. That's an imprecise example, but hey, I write this blog the way I do, all at once, very little editing, unlike other bits of writing like my columns and my newsletter, because this blog is about letting go of the perfect to get at more of the good.

Like everything else I talk about here, I bring this up now because I'm working on no less than three projects which will kill me, KILL ME DEAD, if I do not submit to the truth that the perfect is the enemy of the good. That blog project thingy I mentioned earlier. An upcoming (god help me) webinar on pricing that I'm co-presenting with my marketing coach, Ilise. And a new song that has to come out this week, or not at all, because it's got a whole new year's theme thing to it. (Well, okay, it could come out NEXT year, I guess, but that would suck all the more.)

Let us swear an oath, you and I: let us make 2009 the year we stopped letting the perfect be the enemy of the good more of the time than not. Or even, if you like, more of the time than we have before.

Or, hell, why not go for the whole ball of wax, the year we at least introduced the thought into our working vocabularies.

This post? Not perfect.

And I'm not going back to fix anything, save to add a picture.

Your comments? THROW THEM THE HELL OUT THERE. Don't edit! Go crazy! This one time, I will not judge you! Or myself!

And in return, when I put up the half-baked, not-as-perfect-as-I'd-like song, I hope you will be supportive. Because I'm only human, and it's going to be rough, taking the slings and arrows from the Great General YouTube Coliseum Community.

Even if you don't, though, even if you snicker a little at this or at that, when it comes out, I'm hanging tough.

Because friends, this is one advanced-syllabus lesson I'm learning. And at the end of 2009, I want it learned.

Well, as much as I can do, anyway...


P.S. I'm not even CHECKING this in PREVIEW mode. Look at me go!

Image by Jo Jakeman via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.