Should You Stop At “Good Enough?”

If you have read this blog before, you know that I like to tell stories. At my advancing age there are so many of them, and social media connections help me remember and revisit them to see if I learned anything at the time, or can still learn now.

So when a Facebook friend posted this comment (about a picture of an alligator), it reminded me of my own time at the police academy.

When I attended the academy, candidates were required to meet certain standards in the following areas – academic, physical agility, and marksmenship. Each area had a minimum score that the candidate had to reach during a final test in order to pass and become certified. If you weren’t certified, you could not work as a police officer.

The physical agility test was a series of tasks, like running a mile in a certain time, and doing a minimum number of push-ups and sit-ups. When it was my turn, I did whatever minimum number it was to pass, and then stopped.

“Hey!” yelled one of my instructors as I was getting up after doing my minimum sit-ups. “I know you can do more!”

“Sure, ” I replied, “but what for? I’m not going to win any agility award, and I passed. I don’t see the point in doing any additional.”

Then I walked away, leaving the instructor scowling.

HR pundits and bloggers often discuss how important it is to try, and how people shouldn’t stop themselves from achieving more. ┬áBut I’m not sure if it’s necessary to always try to be on top. It may be just as important to minimize your effort in some area in order to shine brighter in another (I did win the academic award with the highest score in my academy class).

Sometimes, I think, good enough really is just that.

Do you?




6 thoughts on “Should You Stop At “Good Enough?””

  1. Isn’t it more about smart choices and efficiencies? I think knowing what is good enough is hard thing to learn. Kudos to those who have the Midas touch and seem to excel in everything. But, forward momentum in core competencies can leave others in the dust while they spin their wheels working on the perfect score in everything. Lord knows my blog is not perfect. But, I enjoy trying. Thanks Joan for reminding me. Who was it that said “best to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all.”??

  2. Of course it is about choices and efficiencies, Lyn. My point is that choosing to stop instead of always looking to reach a summit MAY be the wisest choice, and it certainly isn’t something others should judge.

  3. While I don’t disagree that sometimes doing just enough is truly good enough, I think we have to be fully aware of what is good enough. Yes, if you’re required to do 20 pushups to pass then that is all you should do. It is measurable. If something is subjective I think you need to go beyond good enough and strive for excellence.

  4. Chris – I’ve been fighting a headache all day so maybe that’s why I’m not following. Do you and your author believe that by “getting on the bus” we are required to settle for good, when great is a possibility? That may be true to a degree, but I think sometimes we know that great is not possible, probable, or desirable and we should be allowed to settle for good if circumstances warrant. Or did I miss your point completely?

  5. Debbi, I am absolutely not against striving for excellence. BUT – I think that we should be allowed to decide which goals are worthy of that effort, and I’m not sure that subjective vs. objective should be the reason.

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