Taking action is more important than perfection


“There are predominantly two types of personalities when it comes to implementing a plan. The first type is known as “planners”. To them, a detailed and elaborate plan must precede action. This approach is useful in situations where the objectives to be reached are complex, caution is called for, budgets are severely constrained,  and the time period to complete the tasks are long-term in nature.  The perfectionists tend to fall into this category. While it’s true that most great works of art and remarkable scientific breakthroughs are materialised through continuous and endless explorations, most tasks in life require a deadline where written plans are put into action. Procrastination due to intricate planning may often be the foundation of great works but extreme procrastination leads to nowhere. In the words of marketing guru Seth Godin, you need to “ship out“. Resist the mental resistance (also known as the inner voice in your head) that you need to plan and improve further. The truth is that there is always something that you can improve further. That is why the term “improvisation” exists in the English dictionary. So, for the planners, be more action-oriented. If procrastination is a problem, use deadlines to push things through.

Having said that, it does not mean that the second type of personality, the “go-getters” (action-oriented types) are better than the “planners” in achieving success in life. Both types of personalities have their pros and cons. Yes, the “go-getters” usually achieves success a tad faster than the “planners”, but they also fail more often. They are less likely to see flaws in their plans, unlike the “planners”. They are also likely to take detours in their plans as compared to the ‘planners” as “go-getters” often do not foresee unexpected changes or make many contingency plans.

However, comparing between the two, the more action-oriented “go-getters” are often the ones who get things moving, and success seems to favour them more.  This does not mean that “planners” cannot succeed in life. It merely means that planners need to include deadlines and a sense of satisfaction in their endeavour – because  “planners” are often plagued by bouts of hesitancy and for some, the absolute need for perfectionism.

Planners have to realise that  taking action and modifying their plans later is more effectively than having all things laid out nicely before proceeding (which is almost impossible, not to mention the fact that unexpected circumstances may throw one’s plans off  course). In fact, it may well be  the case that taking actions first and adapting to changes along the way IS perfectionism.”


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