“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”– WILLIAM FAULKNER
For many years I had been hiding behind my perfectionism without releasing anything I made on my own. I was always self-deprecating and making excuses that what I had made wasn’t good enough. Perfectionism was my excuse.
There were always lingering doubts in the back of my mind that no one will ever like what I make. My art and craft isn’t good enough. I made up these excuses for a long time. It made me procrastinate on things that should have taken a few months and ended up taking years. Perfectionism was my excuse.
As recently as three years ago, I took a deep look at myself and where I am in life (eg. my family, my career, etc.). When I first moved out to San Francisco, I was by myself intermittently for a year—it was the loneliest time of my life. Even for an introvert as myself. My family was still back in Illinois. I had to find ways to keep myself occupied. I had so many ideas and products I wanted to build. But I prevented myself from doing so. I wanted to get it right before I release it. Perfectionism was my excuse.
Then it hit me:
“I AM A DESIGNER, I SOLVE PROBLEMS.”
I figured out when to suppress the artist and when to just get things done. To stop being my own worst critic. Art is about self-expression but design is about solving problems. The work that I do is about making people’s lives better. It won’t do any good if it just sits there—in my mind and in my computer.
“Real artists ship.” ~ Steve Jobs
It is more important to produce working products that can be delivered to people than to make stuff that is cool, elegant, innovative, and “Insanely Great.” Just make it work, perfect it later—no more excuses.