Worth Doing Badly: Fighting Perfectionism, by Corrie Garrett

Worth Doing Badly: Fighting Perfectionism, by Corrie Garrett

G.K. Chesterton is so quotable it’s ridiculous. One of my favorites is, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

I don’t use this as an excuse to serve my kids half-raw chicken or anything (at least I try not to!), but I certainly have to remind myself of it often.

Similarly, Winston Churchill once said that, “perfection is the enemy of progress.”

For things that MUST be done, it’s easy to live this out. I will get groceries, I will prepare lessons, I will get my kids to the dentist on occasion, even if nothing is perfect. It’s tasks that are “optional” that get me. Will I write when I know the last thing I wrote was disjointed and whatever comes next will be worse? Will I pray when I know I’ve already wasted ten minutes on Facebook and I’m going to get interrupted in five? Will I reach out to a friend even though I know I’ve waited too long since her grandfather died?

Hopefully, yes, right? 🙂 I know that fighting perfectionism is a simple concept. I’m sure many of you are way ahead of me in this (or else you’ve figured out perfection, in which case, please share, haha.) But in the meantime, thanks for bearing with me!

Generally I’m not a perfectionist, so I wouldn’t think this would affect me so much. I cut corners and I’m terrible with lists and schedules, so it’s not like mediocrity is new to me. 🙂 Yet somehow, in relationships and challenges and personal goals–I get stopped!

Writing is, of course, a big one. I love what Dean Wesley Smith says about killing the critical voice, which is basically the same idea. He doesn’t advocate writing messy, quite the opposite, but for years he kept a card near his computer that said, “Dare to be bad.”

I think I need that tattooed on the back of my hand. And the thing is, whenever we push past and do the thing–it’s better for us! Five minutes of prayer is better than none, a disjointed chapter is better than nothing, and my friend is appreciative and forgiving of my late condolences.

So, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but whatever you’ve failed to do great, just do badly. It’ll feel better than nothing. 🙂

And as Jane Austen has so eloquently and honestly said, ‘Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.’


P.S. Back to Persuasion next month. Anne and Captain Wentworth are knocking at my door. Thanks for reading! – Corrie


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Zoe Burton
May 18, 2022 5:48 PM

I love this! Even though I know I’ll never be perfect, I still try, often to my detriment. I *need* to let it go. Thanks, Corrie! <3

Cinnamon Worth
May 14, 2022 1:13 PM

Thank you! This post is just what I needed to read, right now.

Mirta Ines Trupp
May 13, 2022 2:13 PM

I love the post and the wonderful comments! I always learn so much on this blog. Kind regards to all!

May 12, 2022 7:58 PM

So true, thanks for sharing!

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
May 12, 2022 4:39 PM

Wonderful post! No one is perfect. I love the quotes!

Kirstin Odegaard
May 12, 2022 2:27 PM

Excellent reminder, and I love those quotes. I’ll try to think of them when I just need to do a sloppy job and move forward. Thanks for this.

J. W. Garrett.
J. W. Garrett.
May 12, 2022 1:34 PM

‘Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.’ I love that quote considering it is right next to an altered or enhanced picture of our dear Jane from the one her sister did of her. Why? Someone didn’t like the original or wanted a more perfect portrait. I wonder if our dear Jane would approve?

I consider myself to be a frustrated perfectionist. I want things in order but can never seem to get there. I organize and for maybe five minutes I’m happy. Then it’s over and my organization suddenly looks like a hoarder lives in my house. How did that happen? When did I cross over the line from organized to chaos? I’m downsizing and pulling things out of corners so I can take them to the Goodwill or Salvation Army. Goodness.

I hear you and feel your pain. Just keep telling yourself… this too shall pass. Blessings.

Linda A.
Linda A.
May 12, 2022 9:19 AM

I like things to be perfect, but there comes a point when I say something I learned from my mom: gut genug. (In English: good enough) Then let it go.

Regina Jeffers
May 12, 2022 6:52 AM

My favorite writing quote is “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

Born in September under Virgo, I tend to be a perfectionist.

As to the personality type, I am an INTJ, which is likely why I can get into Darcy’s head easier than into Elizabeth’s when writing my stories. It’s lonely at the top (LOL!) and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types. (Yipes, that sounds conceited.) However, INTJs know this all too well. (What is frightening for me is that many “nut cases” in history were also INTJs.)

It is often a challenge for an INTJ to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. My brain rarely stops. Many nights I am awaken with an idea I should have put away before going to sleep. I used to design award-winning dance routines during the middle of the night when I was a choreographer. I see most of my stories in my head when sleep is still out of my grasp.

People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private (very private), amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy. I was often the department head at my school, but my greatest difficulty in the job was delegating duties to others.

With a natural thirst for knowledge that shows itself early in life, INTJs are often given the title of “bookworm” as children. INTJs enjoy sharing what they know as well. They are confident in their mastery of their chosen subjects, but owing to their Intuitive (N) and Judging (J) traits, they prefer to design and execute a brilliant plan within their field rather than share opinions on “uninteresting” distractions like everyday gossip. I rarely simply scroll through Facebook or Twitter.

A typical INTJ Quote might read: “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” (Can you not hear Darcy say something similar?)

Jean Stillman
Jean Stillman
May 12, 2022 6:41 AM

Ha, ha! I must say that I am quite good at doing things badly! I like to quilt, when I am not reading, and it has become a game for my family to find the flaw(s) in a latest quilt project. But I really want the quilt to turn out nice…I just don’t care if it is perfect. Loved the article!

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