For discussion: If you can’t do something well…

Let’s discuss this phrase: “If you can’t do something well, don’t do it at all.” What say you? How does this apply to business? To life?

10 responses to “For discussion: If you can’t do something well…”

  1. It makes both business and life in general tougher since the rest of the world is satisfied by bein mediocre at basically everything.

    Some can call me a perfectionist but that’s plain old envy since they don’t have the discipline to do something all the way.

    The downside shows itself when you have 2 designs: one that clearly communicates the desired message, it’s innovative, clever and just plain perfect, and the other one done in 15 minutes because you had a quick idea but it doesn’t amount to much. The client chooses the second design because he likes “that funny color in the right corner.” You look at him and wish anarchy was in place for a few minutes.

  2. I would rather say:
    “If you can’t do something well, then practice and perfect until you can.”

    I used to believe in that saying, but then I couldn’t say that a month ago I couldn’t program in PHP for crap and now I’m making my own WordPress plugin.

  3. I agree with Bryan.

    I propose this amendment:
    “If you can’t do something well, don’t do it professionally.”

    The world would be a better place if everyone actually honed their skills to perfection before claiming to be a master.

  4. I would agree with Bryan. Unfortunately most peeps are willikng to settle for just getting by. Even worse, as MZ said, is when others are willing to settle for some scribble that you know is crap. So, if no one else is going to demand it of you, you’ve got to demand it of yourself. Wish I could follow my own advice there.

  5. Agreed…how many people can do somehting well the first time they try it? If we applied that saying to our lives, I don’t think much would ever get done…now, if you said “If you can’t do something well after prcticing for a long time, then don’t do it at all.”…maybe.

  6. I’ll submit to J on that last one. There are a lot of things that I have also given up after trying for a long time. Drawing being one of them. But I believe that if there’s a will to learn, that the trying should commence. Maybe seek other ways to help you learn, both in a certain task and in life.

    I’ll second James in saying that I take things I can’t do as challenges, hence the whole PHP story.

  7. it really begs the question:

    “If practice makes perfect and no one is perfect, why practice?”

    heh. but honestly, I suck at a lot of things. What I am good at, however, is failing and it will remain one of the things that I do time and time again. After all, I’m one of the best at it 🙂

  8. Is it wrong to be the jack-of-all-trades an the master of none? I call it being a modern Renaissance man, but maybe that’s a euphemism.

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