I used to be a perfectionist. Maybe I still am – not sure. Maybe more realist?
Anyway I’ve been thinking about how, not only some of the time, but pretty much all the time, good enough is, well, good enough. Perhaps it just comes down to having a good eye for the point on the curve of diminishing returns where the slope goes uncomfortably vertical.
Robert Lundberg talks about this in his book on lute construction. Since my ambition is to become a luthier, I read this with great attention to every word. Of course, my instruments must be perfect! So when he said that his standard was simply “good enough”; you can imagine that that caught my attention and I’ve been ruminating on it ever since. (Granted that Lundberg’s version of “good enough” would seem “utterly flawless” to most people. But the simple fact that if one cut was close enough that making a second cut was more trouble than it was worth, then the first cut would do – well, that certainly played a large part in his amazing productivity. This is the man that once made about eighty experimental lutes to test a theory, after all.) Certainly for a beginner, at the end of a year who will be more skilled; the luthier who slaved over five instruments, attempting to work them to perfection, or the luthier who built thirty to a standard of “good enough”?
Then there was my Q45. I’ve spent inordinate quantities of time in my life pondering upon what car to get next. Now my Q45, well, it has its issues, no doubt. Lots of miles, and right now it needs a fair bit of work again. But the fact is that every time I think of what to replace it with, I conclude that the upgrade simply wouldn’t be worth it. I like it; it’s good enough. At any rate at this point it seems that it has become “my car”, like something that’s nearly a part of me. The notion of getting rid of it seems odd and ridiculous, like upgrading a body part. So I’ll just keep fixing and upgrading it and save myself the time and trouble of replacement (with something that would certainly not be “good enough” in some other way).
I started a blog yesterday for my Japanese studies, and WordPress gives you around 80 themes to pick from. You can of course also upload your own theme or modify the CSS, although they charge a bit extra for that. There were amongst those six or eight themes with a look that appealed to me. (Note that I didn’t have a set style in mind and try to match what I was imagining. That way lies frustration, because, again, it’ll never be good enough. Instead I looked at all of them with an open mind.) The first two I tried wrapped my longish blog title in an awkward way. The third one fit everything correctly and looked pretty good so I didn’t bother trying the rest.
There’s a great deal to be said, I’ve concluded, for stating simply that “this is how it is” and not worrying about it.