Annie Duke - Perfect is the enemy of the good.Jul 23, 2021
Insight and inspiration for flying higher in the difference only you can make from guests who have appeared on Creative on Purpose Live.
This week's wisdom comes from Annie Duke, author of How to Make Decisions. Tune into the entire conversation here.
[Scott] "You've shared so much goodness about how we can become decision-makers but also make better decisions. It feels to me like what I'm hearing in everything you've shared is that decision-making is a skill, and like any skill, we can get better at it by deciding first that we are going to practice this skill. And in the pursuit of making decisions, we'll make some bad decisions along the way, but we'll get better at making better decisions. So I really appreciate that.
Would love for you to just end with the question I always end with, which is if you could only share one piece of advice or one tip to share with people, whether it's around decision making or just about trying to make the difference that you seek to make in the world, what would that piece of advice be. How does somebody that's tuning in and has their own endeavor lean into the obstacles and adversity but also into the opportunity in the difference that they seek to make?"
[Annie] "I think that it would be just like that old aphorism, "The perfect is the enemy of the good." And I think that runs throughout my work in the way that I think about how do you actually make progress, right?
So like on a sort of microcosmic level for yourself, you know it's what I said. We're fallible human beings making subjective judgments under uncertainty. So, you're not going to be ever perfect at it. There is no decision that's going to be perfect. But the point is if you can be a little bit better like you should judge yourself compared to like how were my decisions last week or the week before or the week before and try to think about–I don't want to think about, like, did I get this one right? But am I getting better at it and try to sort of taking that longer time horizon and understand that small differences make big changes over time. And stop worrying about getting to 100% because you can't.
And then, I would take that on a macro level. As I sort of see what's happening in society, where everybody's so sure that they're right and they need everything to be exactly their way. And somehow, like, compromise and small changes and progress toward a goal have become a dirty word. And just as that's absurd for you personally, that's going to paralyze you.
And also, it's going to cause you to have a tremendous lack of compassion for yourself because that's just setting yourself up to fail. Right? Because you can't be perfect. It's going to make you lack compassion for other people as well. Because you're going to view them as failing all the time, particularly because you can see the decision more clearly than they can, just as they can see the decision more clearly than you can. When they're looking at you.
And then, you know, on a society level, I think that we can see a lot of failures from that kind of attitude. You know, as everybody entrenches into their camp of knowing that they're 100% correct. And then how do you actually create progress? And understand that if you can create small changes over time, that's what progress is. That's what gets us to these really big seismic shifts that you can't see until you take that really big time horizon.
So as for yourself, as for society, is what I would say, and you know, just remember like we're all just trying to figure out what's true, and what to do about it. And we should all have a lot of kindness for that problem because it's a hard one."
[Scott] "I really love that, really love that. A little less value judgment and reaction, a little bit more consideration and response. So love, just really appreciate all of that, Annie."
Annie just shared insights on not falling into the perfectionism trap, taking small steps into possibility and potential, and treating yourself with greater compassion. Which will you employ today?
Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.
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