Done is better than perfect.

This quote has been speaking to me for weeks.  Actually, NO, it has been screaming at me.  I hear this quote in an angry, loud, rushed voice because I have waited entirely too long on ideas that I want to share.  

Being a musician means leading a life of constant self-scrutiny (Did I play that note as well as I could have?) and perfection (Was I in tune with myself? With the ensemble?).  Creation of sound within a musical performance is a given but most times it happens on the terms of someone else–the composer or the conductor or the section leader or the performance space acoustics or the performers’ in-the-moment capabilities depending on what life has thrown into the mix amongst the practice sessions leading up to the performance.  

So if musicians are members of the general Creatives population where is the creativity happening in our work?

For me, I am most creative in my practice sessions.  I love to practice! This is where I am allowed to be the most creative.  Just like in high school biology, I treat different aspects of the practice session like a science experiment, a hypothesis waiting to be proven.  How far can I stretch my limits? How close can I get to my vision of perfection? I find fun in the process of preparing. My passion for the process of practice also trickles over to helping others find fun in their own their own process.

So why has my inner voice turned this “Done is better than perfect” quote into an angry scream?  I finally figured it out. I have pat myself on the back for the creation of SO MANY ideas. Ideas in the practice room, ideas on a car ride, ideas on a jog, ideas on a bike ride, ideas inspired by other ideas.  They come to me, I get excited about the thought of them, but things get in the way of these ideas becoming actions. I rarely follow an idea through to absolute completion. Now is the time to change–in the practice room, on the stage, and beyond.  Welcome to my done.

When is the last time you followed an idea through to completion?  How did you come up with that idea? What was the force that propelled you to the finish line?  What did the finish line look like?


One final thought from Martin Lindstrom’s article “The Truth About Being Done Versus Being Perfect:”  


“Done is better than perfect” is not about coming up with ideas; it’s about believing in them. And having an attitude that compels you to run with the idea before it’s too late.


What does “Done is better than perfect” mean to you?

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