Getting it 80% right

I’m halfway through Tim Ferriss’ podcast with Gregory McKeown. I was already a big fan of Greg’s book called Essentialism, but this interview way exceeded my expectations. It doesn’t sound like an interview at all, but rather like a chat between two friends sharing their deepest secrets. It’s raw and real and… you’d be better off if you go and listen to it yourself 😉

There are already multiple gems I found in this episode, and each deserves some time to reflect upon and unpack. One that resonated with me a lot was about perfectionism and procrastination. When discussing his plans to write a new book about trauma, Tim said how he’d already spent years in the research phase, testing things and collecting info, and still he doesn’t feel ready to actually start writing.

Now I don’t plan to write a book anytime soon, but there are things I’d love to write about that quite intimidate me. Political polarisation and ways to transcend it, trauma and healing, victimhood and empowerment, isolation in modern society and community building, how technology is hacking us and how we can hack it to our advantage, materialism and the innate human need for transcendence, existential risks and raising global consciousness.

These are all things I deeply care about but feel the least qualified to discuss publicly. I keep reading books, articles, and blog posts one after another, hoping that after the right amount of research I will finally be ready to tackle them. But the moment never comes, and before I know it, Jordan from HighExistence writes the exact same post I’d barely just started, but better.

I’m nowhere near Tim’s levels of impact, but I could clearly see myself in his dilemma. Start too soon before you’ve done your homework, and you risk oversimplifying things and losing your chance for people to take your ideas seriously. Wait until you’ve gathered all needed info, and you’ll be stuck waiting forever.

Then as they discussed with Gregory the potential implications of either choice, the solution was clear. This is probably the most important thing I’ve ever done so far. I’m not doing this for myself, I’m doing it for all the people who are suffering right now and might benefit from it. Better to get it 80% right and give the results of your work to those who need them, than to spend another 10 years trying to make it 100% perfect. 80% right now is better than nothing for years on end.

I’m nowhere Tim’s levels of impact, but I know I could be making a difference. After my recent post on depression, many people reached out to me privately and it lead to very interesting conversations. If I had the guts to write for HighExistence again, I could be reaching hundreds of thousands of people and affect their lives in ways I’d never dreamed of.

It’s not easy for me to aim at being 80% right and risk making a fool of myself. But it’s high time I make myself comfortable with this kind of discomfort.

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