We recently asked ourselves this question when we did a bit of a review for our latest mini Youtube video tutorial. The video was fine, Herman and I both found it serviceable while still being very aware that it could be so, so much better.

This brings us to the question at hand. When is something truly good enough?

It stands to reason that nothing is truly ever good enough and that there is always room for improvement, to quote the poets etc, but at the very least there should be a cut-off point of some sort that is both rational and unequivocal. Not so, of course, but let me explain.

No piece of art is ever finished, only abandoned. Right? Right?!

This concept, or rather adage, is truly a recipe for entropy, as the weight of something’s potential versus its immediate value can lay waste to any feelings of proficiency. If this thing I’m doing is good but not good enough, what else can I do to make it so? Cue intense feelings of inadequacy and bloodied fingers catching the light of burning midnight oil.

What we could rather look at as a means to gauge a sense of an ending for whatever project you may have before you, is threshold.

A threshold can provide a way to walk away from something when it is good enough, and when the requisite amount of effort has been added to achieve the desired goal or outcomes of the task at hand. Like most disciplines, threshold requires training.

To the dojo, we go.

When the ends exhaust the means

I would like to think that very few people want to do a bad job of things. At our core, we are deeply sensitive and fragile beings that need things like recognition and praise to motivate us. No one wants to be the rotten egg and no one wants to be known for being incapable.

Yet we have this thing called quality and standards by which we gauge output. Naturally, we start to evaluate all of our output with the quality and standards we set at our utmost best, leading to feelings of rote inability when not delivering in that exact way.

It doesn’t take much to see that this really isn’t fair on us and should probably be done away with were we to seek a life of happiness and fulfilment.

Let’s use the aforementioned Youtube video as an example. It was created with the intention to show off how a JustSketchMe user can take a rendered pose or scene off of the app and onto their page. To demonstrate in situ, if you will.

Of course, the possibilities are endless and you could make a beautiful, intricate video with pomp and flourish, but the objective of the video just doesn’t justify that level of finesse. To quote a Slack chat, finesse equals stress.

So the video, as it is, is Good Enough™. The pomp and flourish can be summoned when they’re needed.

When chromatic aberration sets in

You know the feeling. You toil and toil and toil at the task at hand and can basically identify it by individual pixels. You strain to work at it until it is worthy of the Louvre and crane your neck to adjust your vision so as to make sure you really, truly didn’t miss that spot.

Suddenly, the walls come crashing down and depth perception is an abstract concept. The lights dim and the colours start swirling. You’re… well, you’re exhausted.

Step away from the screen, drink a drink, have a think, assess. Chances are the love and attention you already brought to the task have probably made it Good Enough™ a while back and you’re just pruning hedges at this point. Well done.

When you feel like it

Sometimes a natural end to a project is not so much felt instinctively or actively decided upon but rather arises as a matter of necessity. A mea culpa of one’s own capacity, if you will. This is probably the most frequent of endings, too, although admitting such defeat is tantamount to sabotage.

The trick is to let it happen, to let a project run its natural course and not whip yourself into penance over wanting to finish up in subjective splendour. Your capacity, at the end of the day, is something that should be respected and honoured.

You set healthy boundaries with friends, lovers and family, why not with your own creative reserves? Don’t let something bleed you dry. Be done with it when you feel like you’ve reached your limits.

There is much talk of gut instinct and intuition but for something so commonplace and seemingly readily available it really does have a high rate of being ignored. Sit still, listen to it, and trust it when it tells you the thing in front of you is indeed Good Enough™.

- Dante Ludolf