“Good enough.” That’s a phrase I hear and use often. I was thinking about that phrase this week. Yes… I often think about some pretty obscure things. Maybe it’s the four kids. Maybe it’s too much time at the pool watching kids swim back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and…. And maybe it really is because I’m just a little weird. But, alas, that phrase has kind of stuck with me the last couple of days. “Good enough.” What exactly does that phrase mean?
Most of the time I hear and use that phrase it is because I’m tired of working on something and trying to get it right. After a lot of fussing and tinkering with something to get it right, I finally get tired of it and say “it’s good enough” and quit. It usually means it isn’t right and I haven’t done my best. It usually means “I hope others find this acceptable because I don’t want to work on it anymore.” It usually means I have stopped short of excellence. It is usually a self-gratifying replacement for “I quit”.
Sometimes, “good enough” really is good enough. But many times I get that thought in my head that this is good enough and I have to stop and ask myself “is it really?” Is it really good enough or am I just ready to stop and settle for something inferior? Maybe I am settling and that’s o.k. Sometimes, by necessity, we have to move on. Sometimes it just really doesn’t matter. But far too often, I have used and heard that phrase as an excuse for not pursuing excellence. For not doing things right. For not giving it my best effort. I have used it as an excuse for being a little lazy.
What exactly is “good enough”? What I think is good enough may not hold up to other’s standards of “good enough”. Another phrase I have heard that is really the opposite of “good enough” is “if it isn’t right, it isn’t done”. That is the standard of “good enough” for some. That is the phrase of those who are successful… or maybe just need an adjustment in their psych meds. It is also the phrase of those who rarely have to go back and do things a second time because it wasn’t right the first time.
Far too often the “good enough” attitude comes through in other areas of our lives. Where that attitude becomes most destructive is when it creeps into our relationships. Healthy relationships take work. “Good enough” is never good enough when it comes to a relationship. Too many marriages are started and maintained on the “good enough” standard. Sooner or later, “good enough” is no longer and the relationships crumble, divorce looms on the horizon, and our kids lose all respect for us as parents.
The next time you have the thought that “it’s good enough”, stop and ask yourself “is it really?” I’m curious to hear your answers. Let me know your thoughts in the comments… as long as they are good enough.
“It’s good enough”, he exclaimed as he rode out of sight. “Merry Christmas to all… I hope it is good enough.”