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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Perfect is the Enemy of Good

I remember owning the BlackBerry 8800 and the BlackBerry Bold in the ‘00s. I considered both to have been superior products when compared to other cellphones during the time. Superior, though not perfect, because no electronic device is flawless.

In fact, as I am a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) practitioner, I acknowledge imperfection in myself, others, and the world as a whole—this includes cellphones. Though some of my clients who subscribe to religious or spiritual beliefs may disagree, I see little evidence of anything existing as completely infallible.

All the same, I assist people in my personal and professional life with recognition and unconditional acceptance of a “good enough” standard. Not all individuals welcome this notion, as they sometimes disturb themselves with delusions of transcendence from defect.

Occasionally, I encounter such people who not only reject the idea that human perfection is unattainable, they sometimes protest the fact that I advocate settling for an obviously achievable standard while they tirelessly pursue an inaccessible state of being.

Yesterday, I watched the movie BlackBerry which is said to portray a fictionalized tale of actual people who began the brand of smartphones and related mobile services and devices of the same name. In the flick, one of the company’s founders (“Mike”) was encouraged to settle for good enough.

The individual’s reply was akin to what I infrequently hear from others when inviting people to use realistic objectives. Here’s how dialog from the movie played out:

Mike: I will build a prototype, but I’ll do it perfectly or I don’t do it.

Jim: Mike, are you familiar with the saying, “Perfect is the enemy of good?”

Mike: Well, “good enough” is the enemy of humanity.

Hyperbole about moral adversaries aside, I appreciate how Jim attempted to dispute Mike’s irrational belief through use of the Socratic method. All the same and willfully stuck in his unrealistic belief, Mike rejected the proposed perspective shift.

While I understand that when trying to improve one’s position in life a person may refuse to settle for being good enough, I’ve also observed a significant number of people disturb themselves into unpleasant emotional and behavioral states by chasing standards of unreachable achievement.

Perhaps my championing of negotiated acceptance, based in pragmatism, isn’t the sort of idea upon which successful companies such as BlackBerry are built. A better, faster, stronger and don’t-stop-‘til-you-die-from-striving-for-perfection mind state may be deemed useful for some entities.

Of course, I see little evidence of such success. Is it a helpful strategy for you, dear reader? Do you find that virtually endless pursuit of that which you will never achieve best serves your interests?

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to attain perfection? Yourself, loved ones, the lives of others, your immediate environment, or the world as a whole?

If you reject a good enough standard—perhaps due to the faulty belief that “good enough is the enemy of humanity”—and you ally with the illusion of perfection, where is your evidence of this rigid belief having ever come to fruition at any point in your lifetime?

For those who are weary with chasing after the wind and who are prepared to try a different approach to leading a more purposeful and meaningful life, I offer rational hope—as counterintuitive as that may sound. If you would like to know more, I’m here to help.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


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