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"Just Enough" is Good Enough

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Don't try to be the best in all areas of your life: go for good enough. Striving for all-round perfection will simply put you on the fast track to burnout, say Harvard Business School professors Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson. Be sure to check out this lengthy excerpt from their book Just Enough. I found this section particularly insightful:

Maximization does not work as a measure of success
What is the right measure of success in your eyes? What is it for your company or school? Is being really successful inevitably a matter of being the best, highest, youngest, richest, smartest, and prettiest on every scale you know -- that is, celebrity winner-take-all? Such standards are maximized forms of accomplishment. Simply put, maximization is any form of going for the extreme -- genius intelligence, superhuman effort, the best house, the unique lifestyle, and the most profit possible. Pick up any magazine and you can find a glamorized message of "making it" that assumes not only extreme performance but maximized reward: great wealth, drop dead attractiveness, all the attention, and possible omnipotence.

Maximized measures begin to start counting success at the limits, only after you've gone further than most other people. This leaves individuals and organizations facing a very large territory of failure and a very small sweet spot in which they can actually feel they've won. And the spot changes with each new competitive achievement -- moving targets. No wonder we're stressed out.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:18 AM