May 2008

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I've just been sitting around waiting for something to happen. My life's been generally boring today. Get my pleasure.

Ben O.

The truth is that 78.316% is actually what it takes to get by in this world, but who's so focused upon exactness that they take it out three decimal places?

Not I!

Ben O.


Brilliant. You should write management "how-to" books.


I like the Golden happines ratio. wasnt there some famous psychologist who came up wuith the idea of 'good enough' as a mechanism that will keep us sane & keep things in proportion?
what WAs his name?


I think the % of accuracy for a complete task differs from person to person. 'X' task complete for me can be 60% complete for someone else.

For example, if I reach office without banging into anyone in this god damn traffic in Pune, I think I am 100% successful in completing "reaching the office" task. But, for someone it might add "stopping no where for no one, not even in the square + honking continuously for an inch space and increase the BP of the person driving in front of you + make everyone else to stop and push your car to reach office quickly when you don't have "Fixed" timings"...and the list goes on....

Thus, if I am a "normal" driver, I look shoddy for the driver with "those added flavors" to his driving.

So the situation boils down to "what others think of me". If you don't bother about others, you are 100% at everything and you will be happy. :-) But, if you want to live to others' expectations, you will never be 100% and obviously never be happy.

So, forget about the %s and do what you want and the way you want and you will be happy. What say Scott?



What a perfect example of the point Scott made! Andrew writes:
"I'd give 140% every time! Okay, well maybe mine is not 40% of another person's, because that kind of person would probably not even understand fractions. like the darn people who cut my pizza! does anyone else have that trouble??? one slice will be 1/3 of the pizza, and there will be two slivers which would barely feed my hamster."

Andrew, I had that same pizza, and, guess what, it's NO TROUBLE at all, because I am perfectly happy with the imperfection, and indeed enjoy a certain randomness in it.


there's an old saying in the australian building trade: "near enough is spot on".

(and how many builders do you see going to shiatsu massage centres?)


Weren't Sundays no-blog days ? Or maybe I missed a post.
In any case, to stick to your 80% goal, you shou ...


there's the difference between being 'apparantly' good and 'actually' good, if you're apparantly good enough nobody cares if you're actually good enough, bring on the happy medium

Mark James Bowness

Interesting. I dont mind imperfections in certain areas, whereas there are other areas of my life where I am relentlesly persuing the impossible which, yeah, leaves me stressed out and in the pub! lol.

Mark Bowness


Over a period of time, my idea of "good enough" has sunk to - it won't get me fired.

PS: Have you heard Darren Hayes' Good enough from the album Spin? Lovely!


its simple ...
proven that we can only work up to 95%
capacity for 25 minutes after that we slack
off and got to get tipsy


Regarding your comic being "good enough," is not because you are tolerant of imperfections, but because you understand the cost benefit of working that extrat 20%. In other words, "good enough," in this case, is perfect!


Well, as you are seeing from some of the comments, "80%" is a rather arbitrary number that certainly doesn't apply to all situations.

80% success is extraordinarily good when you are a batter in baseball or are a player in any major sport.

But, 80% success is dismal when safety is a concern.

So the rule only only right in about 80% situations, that's good enough for me.


Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

You've written some superb posts in the past, but I think this one smells like it is going to change my life--nay--grant me life.

Thank you again, sir.


you hit the nail on the head dude! i consider myself the happy-go-lucky types and now you've just quantified it. you ARE my guru!

i'd get a better guru, but i guess you are 'good enuf' ;)


Hm. I was just thinking this kind of thing the other day. My dance partner and I are trying to make a go at going pro, and part of our working together has been to get our skill level up to the point where putting in 80% is "good enough"- working to reach the point where we don't have to knock ourselves out for every show. How have we achieved this? By doing most of what we're supposed to do (working out, practicing, etc) most of the time. How do we achieve the fitness level we need to make it work? By working out to a certain percentage of our aerobic capacity a few times a week, in part. Have we made progress? Hell yes. Our 80% is still damn good, and leaves us fresh enough to put in another 80% on the next gig, and the next, and the next. Someone mentioned Michaelangelo's "80%" His 80% is still hundreds of times better than most people's 100%.


I think to apply this rule you need to view something as the task, not the frequency you perform it, in the washing hands example, using this system you would not wash your hands 80% of the time. You would wash them 80% well. Perhaps not use enough soap or not scrub enough to get every last germ, but still a decent enough hand washing that probably won't be a problem. Any more hand washing and you start getting into OCD standards, where one might spend an hour washing ones hands to get every last bit for only a minor improvement in hygiene.


Well, as you are seeing from some of the comments, "80%" is a rather arbitrary number that certainly doesn't apply to all situations.

80% success is extraordinarily good when you are a batter in baseball or are a player in any major sport.

But, 80% success is dismal when safety is a concern.

Even in non-critical situations 80% is awful. I'd fire the staff of my restaurant if they got the orders right only 80% of the time. I'd be quite upset if the barber only cut 80% of my hair. He'd probably be upset if I only paid him 80% of the price.

Of course, if my stock broker picked great stocks 80% of the time, I'd be thrilled.

I don't think you can really assign a specific number to cover all situations.


If you had worked on your post for just a little while longer, you would have realized that the perfect percentage is %82, and noted that.

Dick Greene

I try to bear in mind that "the perfect is the enemy of the good". It's particularly helpful on my home improvement efforts.

John  Keitz

I don't really get what you get out of a blog anyway. Maybe this is why you have gobs of money and I don't, but I can tell you with certainty that, while I enjoy your blog, I would still read Dilbert every day, and still buy tons of Dilbert crap, even if you stopped the blog tomorrow. So, your effort isn't really necessary, at least 80% of the time.

Burton MacKenZie

I shoot for 61.8% rightness. It feels beautiful.

Jed Snole

I've tried explaining this to my wife - that I don't seriously consider her to be the "best" mate for me, but just good enough. There are about 3 billion women in the world and I didn't have enough time to try them all. Somehow my wife didn't understand this logic. Even if I had tried them all and could say with certainty that she was the best, I don't think she would have liked that arrangement either.

The Dan

For most of life, including parenting and being a spouse, 70 or 80% sounds about right.

But I was looking for any comments from engineers, lawyers, or doctors, and found only one. I'm an engineer, having spent most of my career in automotive and industrial electronics. Rule #1 is "Don't Kill The Customer". So in my line of work >99% is essential; it's part of why your car and your manufactured goods cost so much-- there's hell to pay when something goes wrong.

But Scott, you'll be happy to know that I compensate by being a good< day.

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