Iterative Improvement

It is a tendency among many people to perfect something before they think of ever releasing it or showing it to anyone else. Often you might label these people perfectionists, and they exist in all spheres of life, from programming to writing to art. There is a big problem with being a perfectionist and thats that you hardly ever release anything!

In general life you often see amazing works of art, incredibly useful tools, wonderful books and beautiful clothes. We have a tendency to then compare what we are creating to these items and think to ourselves that what we have does not compare to them and avoid publishing it to the world out of our own perceived embarrassment. This is foolish.

Everything around you is the product of iterative improvement. Everything we build and create stands upon the shoulders of our predecessors, their mistakes and our own.

Take your shoes, the idea for the shoelaces were the product of iteration upon iteration. The pair of trousers (pants) you are wearing, the zipper is a relatively new invention, it didn’t exist 300 years ago. When the zip was initially invented it didn’t look like it does today, it was improved upon over time.

Likewise nobody is born a genius musician. Some may have an aptitude but it is through repeated failures and learning that we improve and become great. Many failures don’t see the light of day but out of those that do many are quickly forgotten. For every Shakespeare play we know and love I can guarantee there were many more that were lost to annals of history, and even more that old William binned with very few eyes ever seeing them.

So we should not try to be perfectionists. Resist that fear of something not being perfect and instead strive for something to be “good enough”, even then don’t be afraid to release your ideas and inventions into the world a little early. Don’t fear the potential criticism you’ll get, some of it may well help you improve and iterate on the original idea!


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