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Deciding When Something is "Good Enough"

When I was 10 years old I started showing market hogs at my local county fair. Up to this point I had only shown sheep and the two, while both being livestock, couldn't be more different to prepare for.


Sheep are inherently stupid, whereas pigs are some of the smartest animals on the planet. Sheep are led around with a halter and pigs are guided by a cane. Sheep are generally afraid of everything and pigs have the temperament of a drowsy manatee.


As the showman preparing these animals for their big day in the ring, the biggest difference came down to the fact that sheep have wool and pigs have hair. For sheep, most people wait until about two weeks before the show to even think about shearing or shaping wool. For pigs, the preparation of skin and hair begins months before show day.


My third summer of showing pigs my Mom became particularly obsessed with getting the pigs skin & hair to be as conditioned as soft as possible, a compliment she'd heard the judge hand out the year prior. This meant that every day, twice a day, I was bathing my pig and using an assortment of expensive human hair products. Each porcine parlor experience would take nearly an hour and by the end of the summer I'd used nearly $250 of hair product on my pig.


At one point in the summer I told my mom I was going to shift to one hog hair appointment per day. In truth, I was tired of having to leave my friends houses to go home and bathe my pig. I was certain that even though it may not be perfect, the skin and hair would be good enough to impress the judges. In an attempt to suade her I said, "I wash my pig way more than any other kid. The hair is good enough."


Mom was working in the greenhouse when I told her, watering her baskets and trays of vegetable starters. Without stopping she simply asked, "Is good enough, good enough for you?"


Without me saying a word, she knew the answer to that question and so did I. At certain times in our lives, in certain situations, we'll be faced with the question of "What is good enough?" I've wrestled with this question in a number of both trivial and consequential scenarios.


From cleaning my kitchen late at night after hosting people to rehearsing for an important keynote I'll be delivering, when we decide that enough work is enough, we are drawing the line in that moment between complacency and contentment.

What constitutes good enough? If something could be better, should we continue to work to improve it?


Understanding this balance is crucial to adding value to this world. Unfortunately, not enough people have wrestled with this concept long enough to grasp it. The sheer number of garbage podcasts, junk posts on social media, and unreadable books are evidence of this.


When I encounter these scenarios I find it most helpful to ask a singular question:


If I invest more time, money, or energy into this, how much will it impact the end result?


For example, each week I write a two minute newsletter (you're reading it right now). Each one takes me roughly 90 minutes to research, write, format, and publish. Some take two or three hours, but I've never spent more than hours on one newsletter. If two hours can get me 80% satisfied with my work, but 3 hours can get me 83% satisfied with my work, is it worth it? Or is that time and energy better spend somewhere else.


Craig Groeschel calls this principle "GETMO", or, "Good Enough To Move On."


Everyday we'll encounter scenarios when we'll have to ask ourselves, "Is this good enough?" And in the case of a two minute newsletter it may be. However, we have to be humble and hungry enough to recognize that oftentimes it's not.


I left the greenhouse, called my buddies and told them I wouldn't be joining them for wiffle ball this afternoon because I had a pig to wash.


Fact

Pigs can recognize and respond to their own name.


Action

Send this newsletter to your favorite perfectionist.

Question

What is a project you've been working on that is "good enough" and you need to move on from?


Quote

"Perfection is the enemy of progress." - Craig Groeschel







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