Good morning, Believe Nation.!
Today’s message is pursue perfection over you, Benedict Cumberbatch.
You can never perfect what we do. There is no way, I’ve never met anyone who goes, “That’s perfection.”
I mean, to an audience, outside of your work, people can think that that’s the only way they’d ever want to see that part played or that moment done, whatever, but as an actor, and this isn’t mock humility, I think it just go for all art forms, really, that the whole point is perfection is unachievable.
So, it’s that constant pursuit of the unobtainable, which is kind of magic, really. And, should keep us kind of motivated to try better, it’s the Beckett thing, fail again, fail better.
– Benedict Cumberbatch
My unhealthy relationship with perfection cost me $40 million when I was 22 years old. I had my software company, we were growing, and we had this big vision for what we could do.
We had this big business plan for the types of companies that we could help. And the flaw was, I wanted to have the perfect plan. And I spent an entire summer working on the plan, buildin’ the plan, researchin’ the plan, and zero time actually trying to execute the plan.
And, there came a time when I was 22 whe we had the opportunity to sell our company. And a big player was coming in. They raised a huge fund, like $800 million, to go out and buy companies.
And they were looking at our biggest competitor. And then they started looking at us. And we were late to the party. We were a late throw-in. And we weren’t ready.
But we got to be number two, it was between the two of us. And they chose our competitor over us. They chose our competitor because they had more of the plan worked out. They were executing harder. Where, for us, we had some of the plan worked out, but we hadn’t done enough.
And so, we lost that deal, and they bought our competitor for $40 million.
“Perfection is a great thing to try to go after, to try to reach, to always try to get better, but not let it hold you back from doing something.” – Evan Carmichael
And that stung.
That was a big loss for me, I took that really hard. And I realized if we just did a better job of executing our plan, if we didn’t care about reaching perfection, if that wasn’t our sole goal, then maybe we would have got that deal.
That regret, that feeling like, If I did things a little differently, I probably could have got that deal. And so, perfection is this funny thing.
Perfection is a great thing to try to go after, to try to reach, to always try to get better, but not let it hold you back from doing something. This plagues so many entrepreneurs.
So many wanna-be entrepreneurs. You have an idea for what you want to do, and so you’re planning, planning, planning, planning, planning, and then you never do, and then you miss your window.
You miss your window because that opportunity has passed, or some life event comes up and distracts you, or some other thing happens. Like, you miss your window, it happened, and then you see somebody else go out and make tons of money and have a huge impact that was your idea.
And you can’t blame that person. The only person you can blame is yourself because you didn’t do anything about it, ’cause you spent so long planning and planning and planning to get the perfect plan. Understand that there is no such thing as a perfect plan.
There is no such thing as a perfect product, there’s no such thing as a perfect service. If you ever hit perfection, go out and quit, and go do something else, ’cause you’ve hit the highest. It’s never perfect. And, that’s also part of the fun. Like, the struggle and the strive to hit perfection needs to be the game, not just hitting perfection.
The struggle and the drive to get better at what you do, to make better videos, to make a better service, to have your customers love you more is the game, is what you should be loving doing and working on improving.
“Don’t let that pursuit of perfection prevent you from getting started on your path.” – Evan Carmichael
And so, yes, you want to try to pursue perfection, understand you’re never going to hit it, and that’s not only okay, it’s great. It’s great to continue to have this goal that you’re shooting towards, ’cause once you hit a goal, you fall off. You get depressed.
And, so, don’t let that pursuit of perfection prevent you from taking action. It’s both. It’s take action and make it better. It’s start and improve.
Don’t let that pursuit of perfection prevent you from getting started on your path. Don’t make that $40 million mistake that I made, and I learned my lesson on, and I’m hopefully never going to make again.
So the question of the day today is I’m curious are you a perfectionist and has it held you back in your life or your business?
Super curious to find out. Leave it down in the comments below and we’ll join in the discussion.
I also want to give a quick shout-out to Miguel Camara. Miguel, thank you so much for pickin’ up a copy of my book, Your One Word. I really, really appreciate the support and hope you’re enjoying the read.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. And I’ll see you again tomorrow morning. For another shot of espresso.
Evan: Hi, Believe Nation, if you want to go a little bit deeper into this topic and learn more and get more context, I’m adding in some extra bonus clips that I think you’ll enjoy.
Interviewer: With Tesla, your goal has been to make a better car and you’ve done that with an electric vehicle that people covet, that has quite a cult following, that’s upgradeable, but you also want to achieve, and your turn of phrase is very nice, or try to achieve this platonic ideal of a car, right, to reach perfection.
“There’ll always be some degree of imperfection, but try to minimize that and create a car that is just delightful in every way, and I think if you do that then the rest kind of takes care of itself.” – Elon Musk
Interviewer: So, what does the perfect car look like?
Well, I mean, I do use that phrase with our engineering science team, that, aspirationally, we’re in pursuit the platonic ideal of a perfect car. And, who knows what that looks like, actually, but it’s, you want to try to make every element of the car as flawless as possible. And, there’ll always be some degree of imperfection, but try to minimize that and create a car that is just delightful in every way, and I think if you do that then the rest kind of takes care of itself.
My father worked two jobs his whole life-
Interview: One was at a GM plant?
Yes, GM plant
And then for 30 years, and then he had trash-hauling service. So he had his own truck and we would go door to door, pick up people’s trash, and was it was one situation where it was probably seven below zero, and very cold Saturday morning.
And, my job was to pick up all the loose trash. And, so, we, it was so cold that I got everything that I could just grab, throw it on the truck and I ran to the truck ’cause it was just cold to jump in.
By the time I got in and the door shut, my father opened it back up, grabbed me and dragged me through the snow, back to the barrels, to say, “Son, you did a halfway job. “And, if you do this job in a halfway manner, “you’re going to be a halfway basketball player, “you’ll put in half the time, “you’ll only put in half the time as a student.”
And he said, “You’re supposed to do this job right, “so I want you to go get that shovel, “and I want you to chop the ice “until you can get all the trash that’s trapped in the ice and put it on the truck.” And that’s what happened. And, so, he taught me how to be a perfectionist and do everything the right way.
Interviewer: So those are very important lessons.
” The strive for perfection, for being the best, for only doing the best products, for staying focused.” – Tim Cook
There’s still things that we very much believe. The strive for perfection, for being the best, for only doing the best products, for staying focused. The fact that, despite this table being so small that you and I are sitting at, you could put every Apple product on it, every single one that we ship today, and, yet, this year, our revenues will be approximately 180 billion. There’s probably no other company on the face of the Earth that could say that.