You Don't Have to Get It Perfect The First Time - Think Deep

You Don’t Have to Get It Perfect The First Time

In fact, you can’t. You can’t possibly get it perfect the first time. Allow me to explain.

Somewhere along your journey to achieve your dream you’re going to find yourself in the following situation. You’re going to find yourself needing to execute a certain project, but you’re going to focus way too much on getting it exactly right.

A perfect example of this situation is one that you might find in your own workplace: the constant battle between managers and programmers.

Managers want the programmers to roll out a new database but the programmers want more time to make it “just right”. Both sides are exasperated at each other. Managers need to show some results because their bosses are breathing down their necks and programmers don’t want to put out what looks like in their eyes, an inferior product.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

Well, unless the database is not working at all, it should be rolled out. Why is that? Because you can’t get it perfect in the beginning. You never will. Only when you roll it out can you get feedback on how to make it perfect (not literally perfect because nothing we make can be perfect, but pretty darn close). When you roll out the database, the end user can then fiddle around with it and what the programmers may find is that some of the features they still wanted to work on may not even be necessary. Instead, they may find they need to add some additional features that were never thought of before and shift their time and resources toward other areas of the database.

We would all love it if we could get everything right the first time. The first time we go up to bat and hit a home run on the very first pitch. The first time we go to the gym and lose 10 pounds. The first time we open our own business and make a billion dollars. Nobody ever nails it the first time. Ever. This is yet another reason why I implore you to read autobiographies of successful people because you’ll then realize that this common theme of NEVER getting it right the first time can be found in ALL of their stories.

Another example you might be able to relate to when it comes to wanting things to be exactly right before you start is one of reading, but never applying. You want to know all there is about subject X before you even make an attempt at it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wise to read up about a certain subject but only up to a certain point and that’s when you have enough to actually execute the task.

When you do, the infinite spectrum of information around that particular subject actually shrinks to get you what you need like a finely targeted laser point. You’ll get the information you actually need to get it perfect once you start.

I know it seems ironic. It seems on the surface that it’s wise to learn all there is to know BEFORE you start but the funny thing is everything you need to learn will be shown to you AFTER you start. I like to think of it as life’s way of checking to see just how serious you are in achieving your goals.

Here’s a very simple example to illustrate. Say John wants to learn how to serve in tennis. He buys the most expensive racket at the sporting goods store, buys the DVD instruction videos off eBay, reads the books, watches the slow motion videos very carefully, practices some air swings in his room, but never goes on the court to apply his knowledge and practice his serve.

Meanwhile, Mark dusts off a 5 year old racket in his garage, buys a pack of balls, heads to the park and starts swinging away, trying to imitate the serving form of Andre Agassi he’s seen on TV, even though it’s in horrible form. Soon he finds himself hitting the net 9/10 times. No matter how much he adjusts his form, he keeps on hitting the net.

So he goes home and turns on the computer, types in Google “how to stop hitting the net when you serve in tennis”, reads the info and then goes out and applies it the next day. On that very next day while Mark is practicing, a more experienced player on the other court may look and see Mark struggling to get his serve over the net so he goes over to give him some pointers on how to not hit the net. A friendship then forms and now Mark has a new mentor to help guide him through his serves.

Meanwhile, John finally thinks he has it down after weeks of reading. He goes on the court but gets paralyzed with so much information because he’s trying to make sure he goes through everything in his mental checklist that he hits the ball all over the place. He hits the net, he hits too far, he hits to the right, to the left, sometimes misses completely at times. He has no idea of where to even begin and becomes crushed because he thought if he knew it all from the start, that it would all work out.

There’s something to be said about having an empty or near empty cup. If you try to fill it up too much with knowledge, you can’t sift through all the information to separate what you really need from what you don’t.

I think the biggest misconception is that you have to know it ALL from the start. That’s not true at all. You will know it all AFTER you start, because when you start, you have a tangible point to work off on. Then you will naturally find the information you need in sequence, rather than try and learn everything at once and get overwhelmed.

There’s an inherent danger in just reading and never applying because if you keep on reading information, it’s going to take you off tangents that might not necessarily apply to what you’re trying to achieve in the first place and the result is that you find yourself buried under all this knowledge with no idea on where to start.

Nobody gets it right the first time and there’s a reason for that. You only get it right AFTER.

Experience is a far greater teacher than knowledge simply because of the fact that experience shows you exactly what knowledge you need to pick up that you’re missing.

Bottom line: When you’re starting out, you don’t have to get it perfect the first time. Nobody ever does and nobody ever will. Instead, let experience be your guide and show you the way.

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