I woke up this morning, New Year’s Day 2018, thinking about the platitudes we hear, say, use to help us move forward to our goals. I love platitudes and quotes, so long as they do me some good. But sometimes they get overused or misused. In some cases, reliance on the platitude could thwart success. I woke up this morning thinking about one platitude in particular: “80% is good enough in business.”

I know about this rule because a former business coach noticed, accurately, that I had a tendency toward perfectionism (I know, a surprise). My whole life has been spent trying to find perfect, only to discover it doesn’t really exist. But, my nature was still to pursue perfect and often not get a project out the door, resulting in projects sitting in my office suffering an inevitable slow death. You know what I mean. If you’ve ever had an idea and didn’t act on it and a few months later saw someone else making millions from a late night infomercial, you know what I mean.

So today I mused about this and did this video on the question. Let me know what you think. Do you think 80% is good enough?

As an athlete and lawyer, 80% was never good enough. I couldn’t do 80% of a brief and file it. Nor could I expend 80% of my energy, determination, tenacity and grit to get my full certification as ski instructor (at age 52). I went for 100% in both cases: 100% of my capacity.


I decided 80% just doesn’t work for me. I have to shoot for 100%. But maybe if I launched when it was 90-92%, that’s an A minus. I think that could be good enough in most things (just not in law or athletics).