What if we were ‘good enough’?

I haven’t posted to this blog in a while, and it’s not because I’m lazy. I have actually attempted a few pieces and abandoned them, deciding they weren’t good enough.

Which is an interesting concept for a blog with an open brief, a small readership and little editorial control. Nonetheless, I wasn’t happy with what I wrote, and so it stays in the files until I repurpose it, rewrite it, or simply change my mind and post it anyway.

That’s the thing about being ‘good enough’ – there’s rarely an external judge for it. Sure, if you’re on the X-Factor, there’s a whole judging panel and voting public ready to make the call.

But it’s really our inner dialogue that has the most say on the matter: deciding whether we’re good enough, whether we earn enough, whether we’re thin enough – whatever the keyword, there’s an imaginary benchmark we set for ourselves, then measure up against it.

This is a good thing sometimes. It keeps us motivated: seriously, how often would you get your arse to the gym if you truly believed you were thin enough.

It keeps us focused on incremental improvement: for instance, my writing would never develop if I didn’t set myself standards and find the time to practice.

But a lot of the time, being good enough is paralysing. I spent my childhood avoiding sport because I wasn’t good enough at it – I was trying to avoid embarrassing myself. I see now that I would have been ok (not great, but ok) if I had just put in some effort. But it seemed better to not try, because then of course you can’t fail.

You see, the best friend of not-good-enough is not-trying-at-all. These two nasty frenemies get together and plot against our more optimistic selves. You’re not good enough to lose weight/start a business/learn a new skill/get a new job or whatever hard thing you want to do … so don’t even try.

Imagine what our lives would be like if we didn’t have the concept of good enough.

On the downside, we might make a fool of ourselves in the X-Factor auditions,  along with those people who are completely deluded about their lack of talent.

But on the upside, we’d try a lot more things. We’d put ourselves out there more, take more risks, be less afraid to fail. We would ‘fake it until we make it’ way more often.

So maybe the solution is a healthy respect for ‘good enough’, without being enslaved to it.

Author: Belinda Thomson

  1. Wow, thanks for your kind words everyone! Nice to know this one was good enough after all.

    • Esther
    • November 14th, 2011

    Belinda I know it takes work to produce writing like this (in fact that’s one of your points) but you make it look so simple, clear and graceful. I tweet, and I’m going to tweet this one right now!

  2. This post is really profound. I love it. It’s times like this that I wish I tweeted, so that I could tweet this one.

    • Kristie Okely
    • November 13th, 2011

    I don’t think your’e “good enough” I think you are generally very awesome!!

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