Some Days, 85% is Good Enough

I am the worst person to go to the gym with, my sister says. No matter what I’ve done during my workout, as we’re leaving the gym, I’m complaining. I could have done another rep, I say. I could have ran five more minutes. I didn’t really need to take a water break. I end my whine session with saying, today’s workout wasn’t all that great. And true to character, my sister looks at me and rolls her eyes. At least you went, she says. That’s good enough.

What is “good enough?” It seems as if it’s a state, not a goal. “Good enough” is often not what we strive toward, but where we end up in pursuit of the goal. Most people frame “good enough” as a cop-out, a negative. “Good enough” is what we say when we don’t really want to put any more work in, or we don’t particularly care about the goal.

The truth is that while we think of “good enough” as a bother keeping us from pursuing our goals, all of us would be dead if it weren’t for that little phrase. There are areas of our lives where we can’t physically spare the time to put in our 100%. Me putting in my 100% on my Statistics class would mean that I literally wouldn’t sleep. Ever.

There are also times in our lives where we won’t be able to put in the 100% because it’s just not going to happen. We’re sad, we’re tired, we lack focus. Some days our “best” is going to be 85%, and that’s it.

While making “good enough” the norm isn’t anything to live by, it gives us room to have some days that suck. It allows us to admit that there are constraints on our 100%. I don’t have the time to give my absolute 100%, work-out-until-I-pass-out effort every day at the gym, nor do I really wish to work out until I physically pass out (because wouldn’t that technically be 100%?). If I held myself to some high standard of “I’m ALWAYS going to give my 100%,” I would probably never go to the gym at all.

In pursuit of our goals, it’s the cliche to say that we plan on “giving our all.” But in order to operate in the real world and to avoid getting discouraged, sometimes we have to perform at a level that is “good enough.” We have to allow ourselves to have less-than-stellar days and to accept that an effort which was not so hot is still progress compared to no effort made at all.

At the end of the day, “good enough” still has “good” in it. And that’s “good enough” for me.

*Inspired by a wordpress prompt about obstacles that get in our way of accomplishing what we’d like to do.

Other bloggers’ takes on the subject:

  1. Harry Potter, Famous Dads and Stoke Newington | AS I PLEASE
  2. Emotional baggage | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  3. Motivation Needed | suzie81’s Blog
  4. Neanderthals | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  5. I want to be a dreamer when I grow up | From One Crazy Life To Another
  6. Barriers | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  7. Scenes From A Barrier Island | Exploratorius | Photo Hack & Curious Wanderer
  8. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course -as a Medical Student | Journeyman
  9. Some weeks I just wish I could hibernate | Kate Murray
  10. Why women put up barriers to sex! ADULT CONTENT -Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  11. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | The Wandering Poet
  12. DP Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | Sabethville
  13. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer
  14. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | Under the Monkey Tree
  15. Obstacles | Sue’s Trifles
  16. blossoming individual | peacefulblessedstar
  17. Getting Things Done « One Crazy Mom
  18. Adventures in baby cereal | Life Love Lily
  19. So much to do | Angel Frouk
  20. Getting Out of My Way | The Silver Leaf Journal
  21. A Day With Chef Rene | The Jittery Goat
  22. caught | yi-ching lin photography
  23. there are | y
  24. Obstacles to Peace and/or Prosperity/Daily Prompt | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  25. Purpose | Phelio a Random Post a Day
  26. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course (to UK) | Memory Bank of the Nocturnal
  27. An obstacle for everyone | LauGraEva
  28. The “Motif” Obstacle Course! | Home’s Cool!
  29. Daily Prompt: Obstacles « My journey to qualify for the Boston Marathon…and everything in between…
  30. The Silent Treatment. | Hope* the happy hugger
  31. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | Awl and Scribe
  32. of nothingness « Anawnimiss
  33. Why Did I Tackle This Obstacle Course? | Sued51’s Blog
  34. Time and Time Again . . . But, There Never Seems to be Enough | meanderedwanderings
  35. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | sixty, single and surviving
  36. Inspirational quotes by Steve Jobs | Processing the life
  37. Life Can Be A Obstacle Course | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  38. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  39. Self Motivation | A mom’s blog
  40. Smoke Screen | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  41. Busy, Busy, Busy Bee… | An Upturned Soul
  42. Time and Tide | Flowers and Breezes
  43. Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | Kauniiksi katsottu – Seen as Beautiful
  44. WP Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course | 101 Challenges in 1001 Days
  45. Bottled Gumption | A.C. Melody
  46. You Can’t Tie Your Shoes | Sam Wight
  47. Daily Prompt: Obstacles / unlocking my doors… | Louie Behogan
  48. Overcoming barriers | Mishe en Place
  49. DP: Obstacle Course |Metaphor is a pushy jerk. | thejimmieG
  50. Obstacle racing | Unknown File
Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Some Days, 85% is Good Enough

    • Thank you! I actually don’t think so, especially if we allow it to be an exception not a rule. Furthermore, we base our self esteem on different domains (I might base mine on my athletic ability or my writing skills). If we give 85% in a domain which we do not mainly base our self-esteem on (Statistics, for example), our self-esteem shouldn’t be impacted and in fact might be boosted because we can then focus on those things which we DO base our self-esteem on. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      -Taylor

      Like

  1. Pingback: Arrivals and Departures | litadoolan

  2. Pingback: A Poetic Duet With JaneyBGood – “Vanquishing Doubt” | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s