I recently stumbled upon a blog post (that I can no longer find) about how anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. And a Google search earlier today led me to this G.K. Chesterton quote:
“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
That statement rings counter-intuitive to our ears. Aren’t we raised to believe anything worth doing is worth doing right? Or executing with as few imperfections as possible? We want an A on our exam, not a C or D. Playing well at soccer and winning is better than playing badly and losing.
Why would you ever want to do anything badly? But the more I think about that quote, the more I love its sentiment.
Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Because anything worth doing well is worth doing badly. Just because I can’t cook well, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t cook at all. Just because I run slowly doesn’t mean I shouldn’t run at all.
This applies to many other life activities: singing, dancing, photography, piano-playing, running, making new friendships, and learning new skills. Hell – even putting on non-pajama pants and brushing my hair everyday.
Somewhere along the way in life, I’ve learned to bargain away joy in the pursuit of perfection. Perfection isn’t just the enemy of good; perfection is a time-thief and joy-killer, an insidious voice inside your brain telling you don’t even bother.
Perfection be damned. If something is worth doing well, then it’s worth doing badly. It’s worth my effort and my time, my intellectual contemplation, and my nerves and my emotions.
I’m making an effort to run badly (12′ mile pace). To sing badly and to dance badly. To blog badly. To strike out badly trying to make new friends as an adult. I’m even making an effort to get dressed and made up, badly, every day. Even though I’m no longer in my 20’s and able to turn heads.
I’m done with perfection and just want to do things badly.
Because the alternative to not doing things badly would be desolation, and waste, and complete inactivity. A life badly lived is better than a stagnant life not lived at all.