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The One Thing Facebook Gave Me Which Made A Real, Positive Difference

General George S. Patton

I am not really a Facebook user. I have a Possums Facebook page, and appreciate its role, but have yet to be convinced I need it more pervasively in my life. That was until I learnt this one fact about Facebook. It has changed me, and I use it every day. It is absolutely brilliant. Here it is, and here’s why.

I am a very private person (Possums is the exception and is about sharing, learning, and keeping  ‘current’). I don’t enjoy others knowing about what I or my family are doing. I love my friends and extended family- but don’t have any need to regularly know too much about their daily lives either. If they need help- I am there. If we’re together, I am keenly present and enthused. But apart from that, I don’t need the regular communication or connection (apart from with my Mum of course).

So I have never really ‘got’ Facebook – for me. I ‘get’ why others embrace it, and respect that, but it leaves me cold.  That was, until I learnt this one fact about Facebook. Now I use it every day.

Not Facebook- I still don’t get it or need it (Possums aside). But what I learnt from Facebook was this: on the wall at Facebook’s head office in the US is a quote, and it is this quote I love, and use every day. Here it is:

“Done is better than perfect.”

It’s as simple as that. Get stuff ‘done’, and move on.

Now- many colleagues who I respect deeply have vigorously disagreed with me over the years on this concept. They take the view: “Don’t let ‘good’ be the enemy of the great.” In other words, go the extra yard and make sure anything you do is as good as you can do it. I get that.

But in the incredibly busy and pressured lives we lead, I often adopt the mantra that has helped me keep highly productive, making progress and moving forward. And that mantra is:

“Don’t let the search for perfection be the enemy of the good.”

Sometimes you have to say: “Enough already- wrap it up, move on.” Whether an email you’re writing, an article you’re editing, a change you’re trying to drive through…. whatever. It is easy to get stuck on something, fine-tuning and striving for perfection.

The fact is, to make a real difference in most of what we need to do, ‘done is better than perfect.’

Have the courage to do it. It makes a big difference to your output and effectiveness.

Postcript:

I was in Singapore recently visiting SingTel’s innovation incubator investment business, SingTel Innov8. On its reception  window was a quote from the great ‘pirate’ US General George S. Patton.

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18 Responses to The One Thing Facebook Gave Me Which Made A Real, Positive Difference

  1. Tom July 11, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    Thanks Chris, exactly my mantra as well – get it done. (i.e. full-stop).
    Colleagues of mine are sometimes getting caught up in making that one slide even more comprehensive and shining or that excel sheet more interactive with that one brilliant all-encompassing formula. I (mostly as their manager) have to bring them down to earth again with a simple question: “What good does this do to our client?”
    Sometimes the answer is sufficient to actually go the extra mile but most of the times I hear things like: “I always wanted to try this.” or “I didn’t actually think about this.”
    So, again, thanks for sharing – that is absolutely brilliant in today’s life to get things done and get on with it! 🙂

    • Chris Savage July 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

      Well said Tom!

  2. Tom July 11, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    btw – I sometimes fall for the mentioned traps as well… nobody’s perfect 🙂

  3. Cameron Wall July 11, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    “Don’t let the search for perfection be the enemy of the good.”

    Reminds me of when you would go to the school dance and wait for that great girl to dance with, and miss out on the wonderfully fun girl with a great smile that your mate ended up with!

    …and you ended up dancing with no one.

    • Chris Savage July 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      Happens to me all the time Cameron!

  4. Alan July 11, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Nice. Very informative and I have fallen into the trap of perfection so many times, which inevitably takes any flexibility away and in this busy life, flexibility is a must. I will keep the thoughts top of mind. Thanks.

    • Chris Savage July 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

      Thanks Alan

  5. Carl Sherriff July 11, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Thanks for that great reminder Chris. Perfect timing for me!

  6. Rod Killick July 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Thanks Chris. I just looked up Patton’s original speech. First class, motivational @rse-kicking!

    http://www.pattonhq.com/speech.html

    • Chris Savage July 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Outstanding stuff! Thanks for sharing. Chris

  7. Amanda Bloom July 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    This is the pivotal natural law that I have been struggling with for most of my artistic life. The great danger of the concept of perfectionism is that often it is just a glorified term for procrastination. I won’t do it unless it is perfect, often means, I’m terrified that if I do it to the natural limits of my ability, it won’t be “good enough” and I will have to face that. We hold an idea of perfection to disguise the self belief that the average things we do are not good enough somehow. Yet, surprisingly, average, with all it’s flaws and “less than perfectness” is something that often synthesises more easily and effortlessly with the average person, and society as a whole. People can relate to the humanity and imperfection within things that are not perfect. It also invites their contributions and allows them into your idea…giving THEM the chance to make it perfect…growing a stronger team around the concept. Don’t underestimate the immense power innate within the distance between a good thing and a perfect thing. It is a power that can attract the right team around an idea. I once devised a mantra for myself “A good thing completed is better than a brilliant thing in the making”. Love it Chris…thank you.

    • Chris Savage July 11, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks Amanda. Great insight and self awareness. Chris

  8. Shona July 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    After just spending the whole day on a task that should have taken an hour, wish I had read your post yesterday!!! Haha, great post again Chris. Thanks!

  9. Amanda Bloom July 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Another problem with perfectionism is that often you’ll waste so much energy perfecting the wrong idea. Throw it out there against the canvas of the wisdom and opinions of others, to let it reshape and evolve into a better idea…and THEN perfect it.
    It’s destiny may have always been to fail, so let it fail quickly and move on to a winning idea.
    I always say the key to success is to fail as many times and as quickly as possible. People often think that being a perfectionist means they won’t have to fail publicly in order to achieve success. We all must fail first. Possibly many times. Perfectionism just slows the process. Another little mantra; There is only one true failure; to fail to fail.

    • Chris Savage July 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      More excellent thoughts. Thanks Amanda.

      • Amanda Bloom July 12, 2012 at 1:15 am #

        Thanks, it allowed me a good 15 minutes procrastination! lol

  10. Dee July 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    Much appreciated for noting my current sentiments. As with Carl S, this is perfect timing for me to! I think you should start a new blog and base it on your own insights combined with astrological predictions…. that would be funny. Thanks Dee.

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