Things Will Never Be Perfect – And That’s Okay

My name is Joel Runyon. I used to be a perfectionist.

There used to be a time where I was an absolute perfectionist. Everything always had to be perfect. Down to the very last detail and I wouldn’t ever, ever, ever let something go live until it was absolutely perfect. There was only one problem…

I never got anything done.

I was waiting for things to be perfect and they never will be. Ever.

I waited for the perfect job. It never came. I waited for the perfect adventure. It never came. I waited for the perfect moment. It never came.

When I release my manifesto last year, I thought it was perfect. I should have known better. Apparently, somewhere along the way, I missed a typo. A big typo. On the first page. Awesome. That’s right, after months of dithering about releasing a manifesto, I released something with a massive typo on the first page.

Right There

Manifesto Do you see it? 

Manifesto1

How bout now?

Manifesto2

There it is.

Manifesto3

Too many “you”s. Oops.

So guess what happened?

The world ended. People read the first sentence, exploded with outrage and flooded my inbox with complaints about how useless the manifesto was, how terrible of a speller I am and how I shouldn’t write anything ever again. I then sat in my closet and and cried for a few days.

Well…that’s what I thought would happen.

Turns out a a few thousand people downloaded it. I got a lot of really great feedback and some emails from people who were really impacted by it.  Oh, and I had one person notice the error and give me a heads up about it (who was really nice about it too!).

I talked to Steven, we fixed it and the corrected version is up on the site.

BOOM. Done. Problem fixed. No world-ending needed.

Are there other typos throughout the book? Probably. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be, but life isn’t about being perfrect.

It’s about growing, and getting better along the way while learning from the mistakes you do make.

Here’s the real problem I have with perfection: Perfection is selfish.

Two scenarios could have happened with the manifesto.

I could have scrounged over the manifesto infinite times (apparently 20+ edit sessions with Elisa weren’t enough!) and never have released anything because I could potentially be embarrassed about a typo (they’re insidious little things).

Or…I could do the best I could, release it when I said I would and potentially help thousands of people who read it and endure the onslaught of embarrassing emails from grammar nazis around the world who suddenly have less respect for me because of an extra word.

I chose to do the best I could because when it comes down to it, the opportunity cost of helping thousands of people because I was worried about my own ego, is a really selfish trade-off to make (especially when I’m already in the habit of looking stupid every now and then).

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the new, slightly more perfect, Impossible Manifesto is now available at the HQ. If that typo is really bothering you, you can head over and get a copy now. :)

I spoke to a class at the University of Wisconsin Superior twice over the last semester. The freshman year seminar class was put on by Impossible Doer – Micky Fitch and was about thinking and living differently than what everyone says you should. At the end of the semester, they had to do a presentation and all decided to do theirs in their new Impossible T-shirts. Here’s a small group of them dominating their end-of-semester projects after which they all became deans of the school. If you still haven’t picked one up yet, you can grab yours for $20 over at HQ.

FYS Impossible Class

 

Comments

  1. says

    A perfect job. A perfect adventure. A perfect moment. For me, perfection doesn’t exist. I can’t create perfection nor find it, and I’m glad. It’s all those imperfections which make everything that bit more unique and that bit more fun.

  2. says

    Love this. “WTF Mate?!” So funny yet so very true. Also love your class of kids rockin’ the tees. I think there will be another impossible tee appearance from {r} via video very soon… : )

  3. says

    And I NEVER even noticed… not even AFTER you called it out in the first line…. the second time you called it out I finally noticed….

    sometimes it just doesn’t matter. Your message is still AMAZING!

  4. says

    Man, I’ve lost so many hours of my life due to RIDICULOUS perfectionism.

    I’m a recovering perfectionist. The turning point came after reading this quote by Benny Lewis – “Perfection is among the worst possible attributes a person can have if they want to achieve anything in life”.

    And no, I didn’t notice the extra ‘you’ either!

  5. Anita says

    I zoomed in on your first pic and totally read through, then thought it could be the first line and didn’t see anything, then had to read your whole comment to realize the mistake. Haha. You’re right. Sometimes you can’t just wait for the stars to align and fireworks to be blasting outside to start something. Great job!!

  6. says

    I think it’s easy to fool oneself into waiting for conditions to be absolutely perfect before doing anything. It’s true that sometimes, you just have to go for it.

    I (perhaps like others) did notice the typo, but I didn’t care about it one bit. I forgot about it as soon as I turned the page, and focused instead on the inspiring message and out-of-this-world examples of people doing impossible stuff (as if we hadn’t seen enough with TIL!). The one of the boy’s dad pushing him through a marathon was unbelievable.

    I grinned like an idiot in the middle of a crowded tram when I read that.

    Keep it up mate and I’m sure it helps loads of people.

  7. says

    Thanks for putting the words to my thoughts on perfection. I’ve never exactly tried to be a perfectionist in everything, but in some areas, it kills me when things go wrong. And you are right, it is just selfish. Thanks Joel!

  8. says

    Shit I want to re-upload my copy and have that energy I expended clicking my mouse back. The time I wasted pouring over that headline shaking my head uncontrollably? Tut, tut , tut, Mr Runyon.

    I didn’t notice that mate, not surprised hardly anyone else did! Great post to come out of it nonetheless.

  9. Todd Caraway says

    Such a great post. I’ve really been working on my perfectionism this last month. It can be a huge time waster and can do a number on you emotionally/mentally.
    Thanks for all the great content on your site. I finally have time this week to catch up on your site, so I’m off to read your manifesto! I’m sure it is AWESOME! (Whoa, thank God I re-read my comment before posting…I forgot to put the “is” in the last sentence. How embarrassing that would have been!) :)

  10. says

    I love the line in this post, “… life isn’t about being p-e-r-f-r-e-c-t.” You did that on purpose, didn’t you? Just to see if we’re paying attention!
    ;-)

  11. says

    Glad I clicked on your site link from the Guest Blog post through ThinkTraffic. Awesome site! Not perfect, but something even better =o) Still going through your whole site, will check out THE Manifesto next. BTW i actually zoomed in on the page to see the typo you were talking about; didn’t even notice it until the third one! Nice!

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