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Shoot for 80%

I have been trying to reconcile two competing ideas around how to approach projects.

One idea is expressed here by Tom Scott:

Don't shoot for the moon and miss.

Do not try and produce something if you can't actually make it properly.

The next idea is expressed by Hank Green:

I get everything to 80% of the best of what I can do and go no further.

Perfect doesn't exist, and trying to get that last 20% will waste time and effort for not much gain. You can chase that last 20% and it may require more effort than the previous 80% and in all likelyhood you still will not be 100% satisfied.

Previously I thought that these ideas were mutually exclusive and could be summed up by "do you aim for perfection or just get something done?"

Obviously if you can achieve perfection, then that is better than settling lower. However it is not worth risking doing nothing at all.

More recently I have reconsidered Tom's advice. He is not saying "don't aim for anything less than 100%", but "don't aim for something you can't achieve". Acknowlage at the start that you are not aiming for perfection and don't build your project up to be something it is not going to be.

The two ideas are not incompatible. It just took me too long to understand that.

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