“The good is the enemy of the best”. What is your definition of the “best”? It is the same question as “What is your definition of success?” As usual, people seem to be divided into two or more camps about this. One camp says that we should always go for what is best all the time. The other says that if we wait for the best, nothing will ever get done. This is another example of a “This OR that” kind of thinking applied indiscriminately.
Although we do live in an imperfect world, we have an innate desire to always want the best. We are always wanting to get better at things, as this brings a sense of satisfaction from having accomplished something significant. Yes, we are all born to become significant, each in our own way. We all aspire to be perfect, and this is borne out by the growing numbers of health clubs, spas and the whole health and wellness industry. There is nothing wrong with desiring to reach perfection, and we can at least become perfect in attitudes, but too much of a focus on perfection can actually derail us even as we strive towards that ideal.
We need to realize that becoming better at something means that we are less-than-perfect at that very thing we are trying to become better at. It serves us better to be able to think about steadily improving as we go, and improving to the point where we are then ready to make the jump to the next new technology, the next great breakthrough, the next shift in erudition.
So, recognize that the good is not always the enemy of the best. We need to be wise in applying axioms expressed by others, for we may not have fully understood their intended meaning. Also, our sages grow, too, and their worldviews and opinions change as they do. Understand that even as we reach for the best, we need to learn how to be content with the current good we can achieve now, but not to be complacent. The point is to determine to keep improving as we go along. Otherwise we will find ourselves bested by the attempt to reach perfection.