Letting Perfect Be the Enemy of Great

I’m going to tell you something you already know, but that has been a secret to me for years now: I’m not perfect, and I don’t need to pretend to be. I’ve been struggling against perfectionism for too long, letting “perfect” be the enemy of “great”. But here comes change.

When I first released Jadepunk with Jacob Possin, I was applauded for my efforts in doing so. People said they liked communicating with me online, because even if we disagreed about some things, I was honest about who I was – open and vulnerable. But in the last few years, I’ve lost a lot of friends, and fans, on social media (and in real life). I can cite some reasons, but here are the main three:

  1. After launching Reroll Productions, I put on this facade of being the perfect-little-CEO of a company that was just a couple of people making cool stuff. Fake as hell, and everybody knew it.
  2. I adopted causes and political stances that meant something to people around me, but that didn’t line up with my beliefs; I checked the boxes that other people set up for my life.
  3. Some people are just jerks (me included).

I can’t control that last one (and, to be sure, a lot of complaints made against me were valid as hell), but I can control the first two. And it will be easy to fix, as it all boils down to one big issue: trying to please everybody.

Wanting to please everyone, thinking that anything with a flaw in it is not worthy of the ‘mob approval’ that I was seeking, has prevented me from releasing games, fiction, and a huge number of other things that I’ve had sitting on the backburner for fear that people will judge it and find it wanting.

Screw that!

I make some pretty great shit! Will everybody like all of my work? No. Will some people like all of my work? There may be two or three people out there who think I’m always on point (I would question their taste, however). But a lot of people will (and do) like something about my work. And it’s long overdue that pleasing some of the people some of the time is good enough for me.

This somewhat ranty post could about letting yourself be great without the need to be perfect, but that’s not only ranty (at least how I’ve presented it so far), but presumptuous.

But that’s not what this is really about. This post is a declaration to my readers, and to myself, that I’m not going to pretend, or even try, to be perfect any longer. I’m not going to let perfection be my enemy any longer. I’m going to be unapologetically me. I’m going to release imperfect (but as professional as possible) work. And it’s going to be great!

Does anyone else suffer from overplanning? Does anyone else feel like if everyone doesn’t like your work, then it isn’t good enough? Leave me a comment and let me know that I’m not alone.

2 comments On Letting Perfect Be the Enemy of Great

  • Merry Christmas, Ryan. And a great post. People need to start following their hearts, and doing the best they can for their own sake. (Which is not the same as being an egocentric twat). When musicians create music that THEY like, and which resonates with their ideas and feelings, people usually praise them. When they conform to industry standards etc. They usually start loosing the original fanbase.
    It is about being authentic, and true to yourself.
    I don’t always like the stuff you create (mostly because I don’t share your enthusiasm for martial arts), but I love your ideas, and creative process. Simply because your random rants inspire new avenues of thinking in my own random rants. Being authentic inspires people. And you, sir… inspire people.

    • I can’t tell you how inspired I was to wake up to this. You’re right on point with everything I’ve been thinking about lately, regarding authenticity.

      You’ll be happy to know that I’m toning down the martial arts bit here. It’s part of who I am, but not the focal point of my message, which I’ve been trying to get a bead on, and I think I’ve finally figured it out. More gaming stuff and more fiction stuff (more inspirational stuff?) is on the way. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment. Really brightened my day before it even began.

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