Ok to be the good-enough dev? Yepsilon.

Oh, I just know that would raise some hackles. “Good enough” sounds like one is lowering the bar. If I want to be just good enough dev, then I’m ok with bugs, sloppy code, side-effects, untested code. But what is the next level up from good-enough? Better enough? Hardly. Not if you care about spoken and written language. Best? Who is best? Perfect? Riiiight. You keep telling yourself that, tiger. Perfectionism is not our friend, nor are those who think they are perfect. So let us be happy calling what is not perfect “good enough”. Ok? Are you with me?

If you’re too code-y dev-y, then think about epsilon and any approximation algorithms. I have been watching MIT’s Open CourseWare (if only I could stop calling it Online CourseWare or writing MITOCD), specifically 6.0001 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python with Dr. Ana Bell. While going over the approximate solution for finding a cube root, I re-encountered epsilon (ε, or error. To find a cube root of a number that isn’t a perfect cube, I have to be ok with getting close enough. Good enough, not perfect. See? Ok. Good enough seems less lazy now, doesn’t it? Sure. You were ready to label me lazy until I mentioned “algorithms” and “epsilon”. The larger my epsilon, the less accurate my answer will be, but it is still epsilon.

I’m never going to be perfect. I will never finish a project if I worry so much about perfection. But I can be good enough with an epsilon of 0.1. And the next iteration of that project, theme, or tutorial assignment could be good enough with ε = 0.01. More learning and practice and repetition and repetition and repetition will lead to ε = 0.0001. But I will never be perfect. And that’s ok.

What I want to say here this morning is that “the devil” is the spirit of fear that drives us into rigidity and anxiety, which saps our good will and clouds our compassion. The spirit of Love is where our allegiance lies as good people, spiritual people, people who want to make the world better place. Love is always in dialogue with fear in our souls and bodies and minds. So when perfectionism is sharpening its claws in you, take some deep breaths, stop comparing your insides to other people’s outsides, remind yourself to be a good enough witch, and wonder — what would this whole situation be like if I had more love.

(from The Devil and Martha Stewart, by Meg “OMG I lurv her!” Barnhouse)

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