The Standard That You Set For Yourself Is The Only One That (Really) Matters

Yes, perfection may well be the enemy of progress, but that isn't an excuse to not strive for excellence in whatever you set out to do.

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There have been many times during this year at work, when I found myself sweating it out to make sure something that we are doing and releasing to the world is up to a certain degree of quality, and someone or the other would see all of this and then make a comment along the lines of, “Why are you stressing yourself out so much on this? Nobody cares!

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This kind of critique -if one can call it that- has always been a puzzling one for me to unpack. First, because, well, why wouldn’t anyone care- doesn’t the quality of work matter? And, second, how can one not care when it’s their name attached to something that may well be seen as sub-standard, or just plain shoddy? Those of you who are enthusiasts of what you do, you’d get what I am going for here- you’d know if something isn’t the best shape of the work you could put out, and you can be certain that you will not be satisfied if you were to cut corners.

Now, I agree that it’s both unfair and impractical to set extremely high benchmarks on everything that comes our way in our lines of work. But on the other hand, I fear for a world where there are no standards to aspire to, and in which doing the bare minimum is considered to be enough. The answer to this conundrum lies in, of course, finding a balance between the two extremes.

Yes, perfection may well be the enemy of progress, but that isn’t an excuse to not strive for excellence in whatever you set out to do. There’s a definite value to doing something right, and the best way you possibly can. And no, there’s nothing wrong in caring about how you do things that really matter to you- in fact, I’d go as far to say that the sheer amount of effort you put in because you care makes you the absolutely right person for the job, as opposed to anyone else.

Related: Eyes On The Prize: Keep Your Head Down, Your Ego In Check, And Get On With It

Having said all this, a key thing to remember here is to not let yourself be paralyzed by the yardsticks you measure yourself with. And the only way to do that is to be clear, at the very outset, about the things you want to put your energy toward.

As we get started on a new year, and with it, the resolutions and goals we want to work toward in this period, I’d suggest making the effort to be clear about the work that drives you, and then go on to put in all the work that you feel is necessary to make it happen.

And if someone tells you that nobody would care about the effort you’re making, then know that’s absolutely not true- you care, and that alone is worth working hard for.

Good luck, and happy new year.

Related: The Daily Grind Has Its Moments

Aby Sam Thomas

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Entrepreneur Staff

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.