Product Development | Hardware | Outdoor Adventures

Why Striving for Excellence is Better than Chasing Perfection

My work team read the #1 New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, and discussed it together last week. I picked the top lessons from the book and created a few infographics.

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”

It’s easier to commit to a small activity daily than a large challenge occasionally.

Prolific beats perfect

The best advice for online creators comes straight from the research building trust. It takes a lot of content for people to get to know you and your brand. According to anthropologist Robin Dunbar, it requires seven hours of interaction to trust a new person.

Research from Google has shown that a potential customer requires eleven touch-points before they click buy. For people creating online, this means the more, the merrier in building up a solid foundation of online content.

And when you see that ad for the 6th time, you can be sure they won’t going to give up yet!

Don’t Chase your First Goal

The sign of a good entrepreneur is someone who writes down ten ideas instead of just working on the first thing that comes to mind. Then you test those ideas to find the best one.

Dan Priestly describes talking to a billion-dollar business owner about how to start a new business. The guy quickly rattled off the ten ideas that could generate a billion dollars. He said, “it’s not difficult to come up with ideas. The challenge is choosing the best idea for your circumstances.”

The key to great ideas is to have lots of them.

“Winners and losers have the same goals.”

The goal is not to hit the target but rather to keep getting better.

** You might also like my notes on how to improve your outlook **
Happiness Advantage – The Connection Between Lollipops and High Performance

Writing encourages me to read more (or listen!) and synthesize the ideas that resonate. But I find an entirely different set of creative challenges when I make videos.

One concept that captures the iterative approach to creative work is this:

Ship, Quit, & Learn.

The idea comes from the writer and strategy consultant, Paul Millerd, who suggests doing a 7 to 30-day challenge with the plan to quit at the end.

When you design the challenge for quitting it reduces the pressure and lets you focus on the process at hand. Afterward you can review what parts felt enjoyable or laborious or invigorating.

“You set goals to win the game but systems ensure that you keep playing.”

Instead of hitting your goal and calling it quits, make sure to persevere.

I found writing energizes me but making videos truly fires me up. Check out to share a video per day for 14 days, but if it energizes me, I just might go to 30 days.

The book presents a lot of very basic ideas packaged for maximum inspiration. I think of James Clear as an excellent curator of advice. Case in point, this quote keeps bouncing around in my head:

“Of all forms of human motivation, the most effective one is progress.“
— Greg McKeown, Essentialism

[Bonus] Ask the “obvious” question

Dan Priestly lamented that few schools teach the skills needed to succeed in business. Instead of staying quiet until you have the right answer, it’s better to ask a question that might sound dumb.

I have a boss who often interrupts people with very basic questions like “why is this topic important?” He manages to remind everyone of the larger picture and ensures proper context.

I like the encouragement to find an answer quickly that is directionally correct, not necessarily the most precise answer. And extra credit if you get other smart people to help you because that’s how you succeed in the real world!

A good entrepreneur will ignore social pressure and get to the important questions.