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Perfectize the Imperfection: Chasing the Best Version of "Imperfect"

Mastering the art of compromise is a superpower.

In our modern age, where the quest for perfection dominates, those skilled in the nuanced dance of “smart imperfections” hold a distinct advantage. This isn’t about cutting corners or settling for less. It’s the insightful discernment of when striving for perfection adds genuine value and when it simply chases an unattainable illusion. Embracing this approach allows for efficient resource allocation, impactful decisions, and, above all, tangible progress.

Though many diligently refine every detail, the brilliance often surfaces not from flawless execution, but from effective imperfection.

The Silent Partner: Perfectionism and Procrastination

One lesser-discussed aspect of this perfectionist mindset is its symbiotic relationship with procrastination. Striving for the “perfect” outcome can become a shield, masking underlying fears or doubts. Instead of advancing forward, the pursuit of perfection becomes a reason to delay, to hesitate, to wait for the “right” moment. In essence, perfectionism can morph into a sophisticated form of procrastination.

The Traditional Pursuit of Perfection

The pursuit of perfection can lead to exhaustive revisions, sleepless nights, and an incessant feeling of inadequacy.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dalí

This sentiment resonates deeply in professions like engineering, where precision is revered.

The Engineer’s Paradox

Many engineers, fueled by their precision-driven mindset, occasionally overlook the larger context and overarching strategy.

In the bustling landscape of startups, there’s a temptation to perfect every piece before launching. However, in such a dynamic setting, awaiting perfection could mean bypassing vital market opportunities.

Perfectizing Imperfection as a Tool for Growth

Reimagining “compromise” as an invigorating challenge can usher in transformative shifts:

  1. Understanding the Bigger Picture: Engineers evolve to look beyond just the code, valuing the wider business strategy and context.
  2. Harnessing the Excitement: The act of compromising transforms into an exhilarating endeavor, propelling engineers to apply their problem-solving prowess in more encompassing ways.
  3. Evolution Over Time: This refreshed viewpoint continues to reward with feelings of mastery and ongoing improvement, albeit from a more expansive perspective.

The Pareto Principle in Practice

The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, epitomizes this mindset.

Vilfredo Pareto observed that most consequential outcomes stem from a fraction of one’s efforts. This perspective, reminiscent of the adage, “Strive for progress, not perfection,” serves as a reminder that often the strategic choice is to leverage the 80% and judiciously weigh the chase for the remaining 20%.


While perfection might traditionally be seen as the zenith, adopting a lens that values context, strategic moves, and wise compromises often births more impactful and meaningful results.

In transitioning our vantage point and appreciating the imperfect’s merit, we not only enhance our endeavors but inspire others to tread the same path, recognizing that perfectionism, unchecked, can become a hurdle rather than a help.

A Final Thought on Perfection and Planning

By the way, perfection isn’t just about the execution; it’s intricately tied to planning. I’m gearing up to pen my thoughts on why I’m wary when someone asserts their plan is “clearly defined.” In the rapidly evolving world of startups and business, clinging to a rigid roadmap is akin to navigating uncharted waters with an outdated map.

Embracing flexibility in our roadmaps becomes essential. The pursuit of perfection, when entwined with an inflexible plan, can be detrimental. It’s less about following a meticulously laid out plan and more akin to playing a game of poker. One must constantly read the environment, adapt, and recalibrate.

Stay tuned as I delve deeper into this topic, exploring the intricate dance between perfection, planning, and the importance of adaptability in our ever-changing world.

Last updated on 8 Oct 2023
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