One of the key takeaways from my study of the deliberate practice concept is this:
You will produce a lot of work and most of that work will be defective, containing an uncomfortable number of imperfections.
And that’s OK.
Because perfect does get in the way of great.
I know people who boast of their need to be perfect.
“I can’t seem to get my novel finished because it’s never good enough.”
“I can’t draw because I won’t ever get the nose right.”
“I’m afraid my business idea will fail, so why bother starting?”
“I’m going to keep my poetry to myself because I’m afraid you won’t like it.”
Perfectionism is not a good trait.
Perfectionism does not help you do great work.
Iteration is always your friend.
Here’s what I’m not saying:
ship work that's half-assed and substandard. You can still do good work. But know that very little of what you do will reach your arbitrary standards of perfection until you’ve done a lot, over a long period of time. The only way to learn how to do anything of value is to create a lot of work. And if you expect that quantity of work to be perfect out of the gate — well, your expectations are way too high. Lower them.
To become great at anything you have to do it every day. And what you do every day will sometimes not even be good. Let alone perfect.
But put your butt in the chair and do it anyway. It will get better. I promise.
Do the work.
Don’t let your need to be perfect become an excuse for blatant procrastination.