Progress beats perfect

This is a favorite saying of mine. I use it to motivate myself when I feel disheartened about how much I have to learn and improve. If I do a little every day or every week, I will get there. If I get one percent better each day for one year, I'll end up thirty-seven times better by the end of the year. 

$1.01^{365}=37.78$


Years ago I had read this idea in one of John Ousterhouts life lessons, and it stuck with me. 

"A little bit of slope makes up for a lot of y-intercept"


Recently I noticed another advantage of progress over perfect. The emotional  advantage.

Progress is better because it makes you feel better as you see improvement. You are getting there, you are making ... progress. Progress is growth mindset. You have an opportunity ahead of you.

Perfect feels bad.. It puts you on defense. You have to defend the perfect, you have to keep the appearances. You can only go downwards from perfect, or maintain status quo.

Progress gives you momentum. As long as you manage your emotional status and don't get disheartened and don't get too impatient.


Ok, I made an AI-generated art for "progress beats perfect" using Hillel's Notebook. If you squint enough you can see the word "perfect" written in letters at the bottom, and a boxer standing on top of it beating it (like the iconic Muhammad Ali pose). For some reason, the boxer has a beatbox face and red hair.



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