Excellence CompassOne aspect about myself that I’ve learned is that I like to do a good job. I like to do a good job at almost anything I do. Half-assed don’t cut it for me.

It doesn’t feel very good when I do a half-assed job with something. Fifty percent doesn’t cut it (for me).

But I run out of time.

When I run out of time, I rush to get it (whatever it is) done. I usually get it done because I hit deadlines. This leads to a strange sense of satisfaction of “Well, I got done,” but an equally disappointing sense that it wasn’t done as well as I would have liked to have gotten it done. Fifty percent just doesn’t cut it.

In my first design class, back in college, we were given challenging projects to complete. These projects were designed to develop creativity. Our first design project was to take a 7 cm by 7 cm cube and uniquely pierce it using only straight lines.

The key grading criterion was “uniquely.” The only one of its kind, unlike anything else. “Unique” was emphasized throughout the class in every project we attempted.

We had one week to complete the project.

So much for creativity.

I discovered in this class that creating something unique is difficult. “Unique” is very difficult, but not impossible.

If you attempt this, you’ll discover, you can spend a good many hours developing concepts. In fact, you may discover that you’ll never run out of concepts. But you also may discover none of them is unique.

So how do you know when you are done?

You run out of time. The project is due. You select the three best designs you have. Put them in front of the class and let the judging begin.

And you learn to understand yourself in this process. You strive to do a good job. You strive for excellence, but you never achieve perfection.

There is no future in perfection; only in excellence (always).

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This