Essay — 2 min read

Good nuff: How to overcome perfectionism and ship fast

Being able to ship fast and consistently is the biggest superpower a founder can have. Learn how to embrace progress over perfection and actually make things happen.

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Chapters is filled with hundreds of books at any given time. Every time I walk in, there's at least 3 that really grab my attention. I can only get 1 though - which one?

  • "This one has nice illustrations on the cover"
  • "I think I've heard of this author and they're supposed to be really good"
  • "The first two lines of Chapter 2 read interesting"

Numerous thoughts like these run through my head. How do you get the perfect book?

What is perfect?

Perfectionism is a disease. It stops you from ever finishing a task. You do the work, stare at the work, do the work, stare and so on and so forth. Like a moth circling a flame, you never find a restful landing.

86% believed perfectionist expectations impact their work.

The consequences are worse for startup founders. Your days are highly volatile - dealing with a broken product, getting on calls with prospects, doing user interviews, pleasing the social media mob, eating right all are at the #1 position in your to-do list, all the time.

But you can't get it done. Not something, not anything.

The stress compounds. The pile of dishes continues to pile up. It's now taller than you are.

Then all of a sudden - darkness.

68% of people believe perfectionism leads to burnout.

The solution to all of this is a single phrase - "Good 'nuff". Scholars sometimes call it: "F%$^ it". (I'm not really a scholar so I wouldn't know)

It's the voluntarily act of putting a stop to the annoying voice in the back of your head and say - what I have in front of me is good and it should be pushed out to the world this instant.

The phrase is honestly a bona-fide superpower for a startup founder.

While your competitors are spending months perfecting their landing page, you are putting out 20 different experiments and learning what brings in the dough.

But isn't this trading quality for speed?

Not even in the slightest.

School teaches us that when you submit an assignment, it must be perfect. After all, you only get try. The final iteration (effectively the only iteration) is the one that counts, if it's not good, it's worthless.

The startup world (and the real world) doesn't work that way.

You have infinite tries to get to the perfect product and the best way to constantly move towards that thing is come up with a hypothesis, build it out just enough and say - "good 'nuff" and put it out. The feedback you get back will drive you to that perfect product.

On the contrary, if you spend a million years perfecting it internally and then put it out (if ever), there's a very slim chance that that was exactly what people wanted.

The truth is nothing is ever going to be perfect on day 1. You must give yourself time to perfect it.

So the next time you walk into a Chapters, pick up the first book you see and say - "Good 'nuff".

Sukhpal Saini

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