Perfectionists

You are human. It's wonderful that you've found something in which you wish to strive toward perfection. There is but one problem: you're human. Everything we do has what engineers and scientists everywhere refer to as 'a margin of error.'

Let's take an example to explain what that is. Let's say a company produces a widget and they get an order for 10000 of them. They know that they will actually have to produce off their manufacturing line more than 10000 to fill that order and they know they will have to produce in total, 5% more than that. Some of that 5% will be from widgets that do not pass their quality testing before they get boxed and shipped and the rest will come back from their customer as a warranty replacement. Their margin of error totals to 5%. How do they get that number before they make the widgets?

They take the margin of error from all of their suppliers and do the math! Because all of the products involved have a margin of error, we have to break it down where this comes from: humans.

Because we produce the devices involved, they have a margin of error. We made the robot that places the widget on the conveyor belt, the conveyor belt, and all the parts that make up those things. Let's suppose for a moment that we have to place something in exactly the right location on top of the unfinished widget as it moves down the conveyor belt. The placement is by a very reliable robot that is calibrated by a human. It too has a margin of error for placement. Then another robot places the new part on the widget, which has a margin of error. No matter how much we try, no measurement we take can ever actually be perfect. Not even with an electron microscope (one of the most accurate things we have today).

Now, let's say you are going to make a pair of pants by hand. You have a margin of error too, no matter how skilled you are at it, or how much practice you have. You have to make 10 pairs of pants. If we went crazy with an electron microscope and measured how strait you stitch, how strait you cut fabric and such, we would find your margin of error. All humans have a built in margin of error, therefore everything we touch has one.

No matter how hard you try, you will have a margin of error. The trick to being a successful perfectionist is to know when your work is good enough because regardless of how hard you try, you will never actually make your project perfect.

Yes. I am a perfectionist. And yes, it still drives me nuts from time to time, even though I know for a fact that I have a margin of error. The only way to finish your work is to know when to call it done.

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