“Good Enough”….Isn’t

There are few things in the world as personally satisfying as doing something well. Conversely there are few things in the world as disappointing as doing a job poorly, when you know you could have done better. There are a lot of factors that determine the outcome of job, many of which are out of our control, but one of the things we have total control over is our effort.

Before joining the military I was a cabinetmaker. As a journeyman, a great source of frustration arose when I saw coworkers half-ass a project just because they didn’t want to put the effort in. “That’s good enough” rapidly became one of my most despised phrases.

I’m not going to lie and say that I have never put less than 100% effort into a project, but as I’ve matured, I can say that it requires pretty special circumstances for me to NOT put in a full effort. As the saying goes: “Any job worth doing, is worth doing well.”

Doing a job well isn’t just limited to our employment. It could be cleaning, playing a sport, cooking a meal, learning an instrument, or writing a blog. Putting the effort in and doing something to the limits of your skill is extremely rewarding, even if the results are perhaps less than what you had hoped for.

One of the jobs I get a great deal of satisfaction from is cleaning, or organizing. When I was a cabinetmaker my work area was always the most organized, and often the tidiest. I carried a lot of that attitude home. I try my best to keep the kitchen as clean as possible, and I never get out of bed without making it afterward. There are a lot of arguments for why these habits are good, but one that doesn’t get talked about: the psychological aspect.

There is tremendous satisfaction in holding nothing back. Doing something to the best of your ability breeds confidence in those abilities. It allows you to increase in skill, and develop. Putting in 100% becomes a habit, as does “half-assing”. Many of the people I know, that put less than 100% into their work (be it at work or at home), are often the people that are putting less than 100% into their lives.

As I get older I become more and more aware that we are all here for a finite amount of time. “Stoics” (people that practice stoicism) have a phrase: “Memento Mori” which translates to “Remember you must die”. Its not intended to be morbid, but to inspire; to remind us that we all have a limited amount of life and……

……life is what you make it. It requires maximum effort; even the little, stupid stuff. If you don’t put 100% in to it, why would you ever expect to get 100% out of it.