Progress over perfection

Why I Choose Progress Over Perfection & How I Implement It?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Hullo all,

Here’s the time again:

I’m writing a 2nd blog for the day again today – but I’m following my impulses and running with it.

I haven’t recorded any videos today but oh well – I feel like writing more – which leads me onto this point:


I recently read a book called ‘How To Focus’ by Anthony Heston, and it had such a powerful statement in it that I want to share – most specifically with my business partner Wadah Salim, over at Plant Sumo

It goes something like this:

‘In the end – action always unlocks perfection’.

I think this is such a sublime statement and is a bonafide way of thinking about success.

Perfection ultimately leads to inexperience

If you focus on being perfect with the execution of tasks and waiting for the right strategic moment – you’ll ultimately suffer from not experiencing the 101 variables that can arise from simply being ‘out there’.

How can anyone derive the perfect plan of execution when you’ve had 1001% less experience than a colleague of yours?

And there are so many variations of this that support this notion it’s worth going through just a couple to illuminate this point.

Let’s imagine this scenario:

During a sunny summer in the South of France – two Formula 1 Drivers are charged with racing each other in a 1-on-1 time trial in on the Monaco Grand Prix race track – with these prevailing conditions:

Driver A, Sam, is not allowed to practice with the motor car (or any similar vehicle) until the day of the race.

Driver B, Harry, is allowed to practice with any vehicle he likes at whatever time he likes

What should Sam do?

Given he can’t practice in any machine that’s similar to his race vehicle, and given that each time on the track incurs costs and resources – maybe he waits for the day of the race OR practices using his favoured vehicle on a different race track?

Maybe he practices in a beat down old car to at least get a sense for the track, the corners, the turns, where the focus is needed, gear shifts, and being able to visualise the actual race day itself right?

Alternatively, because he raced this track flawlessly just before this competition was announced – maybe he just waits until the race day and chances it – because he doesn’t want to pollute his mind or waste time doing the wrong thing before race day?

What’s the right answer?

Or better yet – what’s the wrong answer?

In any scenario – the wrong answer is to do nothing.

To do nothing but wait for race day, and to hope based upon historical experience and race the perfect race?


As demonstrated by the concept of the “Lean Startup” by Eric Ries – continual testing is the most effective way to success.

Then we can draw upon the famous passage from the Art & Fear book by David Bayles and Ted Orland (I had to google this to bloody remember it) –

A class that’s divided into two teams are given tasks for which they’ll be graded upon – one group graded based upon quality – and the other quantity.

Ultimately what happens at the end of the week’s end is that the group being judged upon quantity also win for quality – which wasn’t even what they were being graded for.

It’s fascinating when you think about this right?

That a team not even giving any reference to perfection actually come out on top in that quadrant when really they’re just trying to churn out as many pots as possibly.

This – I think boils down to the competitive gene that I believe is hard-wired in many of us.

Bonson and Merryman’s book Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing does go into this somewhat – that competition is good for those who compete – and I think this stems from evolution.

Evolution is warfare – it is quite literally the survival of the fittest.

And in today’s world, the highest prize is the achievement of status and/or wealth.

This is what represents the modern-day fight between homosapiens and neanderthals, of marauding religious, political and civil wars and everything that’s followed.

I think the desire to ‘be more’ and ‘do more’ for the minority (ultimately) of society that wishes to ‘achieve’ in our lives ensures that well –

Perfection kind of takes care of itself – and often rapidly so as determined by the volume of actions you take.

If you’re reading my blog – you’re likely seeking improvement in your own life in some shape or form – and it stands to reason that after reading a certain amount of literature – you will then seek to take next steps.

Of course, there are many variations of this – like taking the wrong actions, or continually repeating the same actions…

But they all stand tall over relative inaction.

And that’s what brings me to write a blog at 16.27 on a Saturday afternoon because I feel inspired to do so.

And how is this blog better than the one I wrote even yesterday?

Well, THIS time (for the first time since Jan 1st) – I did a little bit of keyword research before just jumping into this.

I knew I loved the quote ‘action always unlocks perfection’ – had had a riveting conversation with my business partner Wadah about action and accountability and wanted to ride my inspirational wave before it snuffed out.

What I then did – was run a quick google search around this:

Immediately I realised that this is probably a bad phrase to target so let me try something else:

And BOOM – look what came up 🙂

(Those search volumes come from Keywords Everywhere)

I noticed the competition at 0.18 looks pretty low as well.

Then I looked over page 1 of Google to see what is ranking:

Not too crazy.

Comparing my authority score with all of the sites above also it looks like mine is higher:


[convertful id=”197358″]

However, it’s actually quoted that are ranking over the content:

And that’s got some search volume as well:

So here are some images I just made in Canva which I’ll pass to the SEO team to see if they can rank it as well:


But when I ran that direct search I also saw there are actually some written quotes 1 on Google check it out:

So let’s add some quotes I actually like also:

In recovering from our creative blocks, it is necessary to go gently and slowly… These are baby steps. Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.”

This is a quote from Julia Cameron

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

This is a quote from Julia Cameron

I think this one is about progress is especially powerful:

You don’t need to stick to tough rules or overnight changes; you need not rely on hardcore discipline that makes you hate your life. You need only focus on progress, not perfection. Lean into the process of losing weight, and it will happen easily.

This is a quote from Kathy Freston

Christ, there’s even a whole website dedicated to this topic I’ve just realised:

Looks like it died in 2015 but nonetheless it even surprises me how much content there is around this keyword.

I’ll take a few progress over perfection quotes from here I like:

  • “Change happens outside of your comfort zone.” – Robbie Kramer
  • “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
  • ” A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” – Confucius
  • “We will be the same person in 5 years that we are today except for 2 things: the people we meet and the books we read.” – Charles Jones


So the title of this blogpost is ‘Progress Over Perfection Every F*cking Time [And How I Implement It] – and I hope (tell me if I haven’t I’ll fix) I’ve implemented this in real-time.

I.e the very imperfect implementation of keyword research in real-time (as demonstrated by the way it was crow-barred into the end of this blog) –

In the hopes that I can see this blog rank on Google – as I try and marry the ideas I’m passionate about writing on with actual keyword research so people I’ve never met before can discover my content.

Regardless of whether that works or not – I’ll know (at least) that I’ll come out better next time.

And yes. Until next time.

This one is for you Wadah 🙂

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