The day after perfect is what separates finishers from starters.
What a hell of a line! Jon Acuff wrote that in his book, “Finish” and it has helped me immensely in leveling up.
I can recall about a million things I have started and haven’t finished. So how can I give myself the gift of done?
A good example of how we seem to think in absolute outcomes stems from my ‘75 Hard’ challenge I attempted a few months back. If you aren’t aware, the rules are pretty straight-forward: 75 days straight...gallon of water, 2 workouts (one has to be outside), no cheating with bad food and 10 pages of reading—per day.
I was absolutely killing it for 23 days and then came Day 24 where a tornado ran through my schedule and excuses as to why I couldn’t get it done that day made its way to my thoughts.
Once the streak is broken, I can't pick it back up. My record is no longer perfect so I quit altogether. Pretty common scenario here.
If you ask people around you, you will sense a general theme:
"I fell behind and couldn't get back on track."
"Life got in the way and my plans got derailed."
"The project jumped the tracks and got too messy to fix."
The words might be different, but they're all saying the redundant same thing: "When it stopped being perfect, I stopped, too."
The first roadblock and we quit.
The thing is, all I had to do was pick it right back up where I left off and the outcome after 75 days would have been pretty much the same. Seeking perfection killed what could have been great.
We all want A’s, not B’s or C’s. We would rather get a zero than a fifty. The fear of failure smothers our better judgement so we never even start the goal. Can’t fail if you don’t try.
I felt this gravitational pull a lot when writing my book, “My Rich Uncle: An Informal Guide to Maximizing Your Enlistment”. Overall, it took 3 years to finish because perfection was getting in the way of good enough. There would be months of blank space until a chapter of “The Art of War” drop-kicked me back into the rhythm of writing.
The radical truth is your goal won’t be perfect. You will probably fail and maybe even fail a lot. Heck, you may fail after the first step. And that’s OK.
The radical truth is your goal won’t be perfect.
Finish the book you were reading, forget the cheat meal, disregard that impulse buy that broke your budget for the month and just keep pushing forward.
Building up tolerance for imperfection is critical in transforming from a typical starter to a consistent finisher. Like Jon says, “Chronic starters quit the day after perfect”.
These weekly newsletters are far from perfect, but I can’t let that get in the way of producing them.
What will you pick back up today?
You can always start here.