Good enough –

Jennifer and I are in Adelaide at the moment. For those who aren't familiar with Australian geography, Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, at the bottom end of our country.

We came here to meet with some possible investors for PGS. An added benefit was that we could watch yesterday's cricket World Cup final on a decent tv!

We won by the way.

Today we make our way back to Mudgee – about 1300 kms – which we'll do in two days. It will be good to get back home.

Once home I'll do a recap of what I've learned from this trip. I've learned a lot, and changed my views on some formerly held beliefs.

This has been a very important trip for me.

I thought I'd put up a post now though about something that I find quite interesting. I've been thinking about this for a while.

In researching my PHOTO CAMINO book, I came across an interesting term that's used in tech circles.

It's “good enough..”

Good enough describes a threshold beyond which buyers of cameras, or other tech products, won't breach.

A camera manufacturer for instance might put out a new model camera, but sales will be flat because most consumers feel that their current camera is “good enough.”

They're not prepared to shell out money for a new model camera that has new technology that they don't really need, or would rarely use.

Same when deciding on what camera to take on the Camino. A lot of people would say their iPhone or smartphone is good enough.

Why do I find this interesting?

Because the term “good enough” used to be a pejorative term. If someone did something that was merely good enough, then that person was deemed lazy or lacking ambition.

We don't want good enough, we want excellence. We want the best.

But technology has introduced this term good enough to describe buyers' take-up behaviour, and I look at it now in a broader social context.

Perhaps “good enough” = “satisfied.”

Now that I find interesting.

Could it be that we're becoming more satisfied with what we've got? That we're not succumbing anymore to marketing bewitchments? That the allure of materialism is starting to wane?

I used to rail against the whole notion of good enough. In my work, good enough was never good enough. I had to make it the best I possibly could, and I would demand that of those that I worked with too.

And that's still the case.

Good enough just doesn't cut it.

But then that's not entirely true.

I worked with a wonderful lady who was a true perfectionist. But she would always be late on delivering because nothing was ever good enough. I remember saying to her once, what's more important, packing your suitcase perfectly? Or catching the train?

Catching the train.

How you pack your clothes in your suitcase is good enough.

And now I'm starting to think of this term in ways that can impact other areas of my life. The clothes I buy, the places I stay, even the food I eat.

I used to live in Adelaide. I used to go to all the fancy restaurants. I used to follow the fortunes of chefs. I don't do that anymore. Last night Jennifer and I had miso soup with bok choy and broad beans, cooked in our hotel room with the aid of an electric kettle, and eaten from tin cups.

It was good enough.

In fact it wasn't only good enough, it was superb.

I'm starting to rethink my attitude to good enough. I used to bristle at that term. I used to think of it as a loser's term.

Now I'm starting to think it could be a winner's term.


20 thoughts on “Good enough –

  1. I have learned as I have aged that I don’t have to have the best of everything. I don’t have to always be trying to move up to the next level. I pick and choose my battles, and any battle at all is rare for me. Does this mean I have settled for good enough. In many aspects of my life I have and in fact, that is good enough. I don’t want to be on that hamster wheel again. We can’t all be heros. Some of us have to sit on the sidewalk and clap when the heros walk by. I think that is good enough. Or is it???????

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s intersting Steve. Yesterday was the final of the Cricket World Cup. Australia won. We were up against New Zealand in the final.

      NZ were the only team to get through the entire tournament leading up to the final without losing a game. In the rounds, Australia lost to NZ.

      The captain of the NZ team is a bloke called Brendan McCallum. As a batsman he’s been formidable. Scary. All the pundits said that he would lead NZ to victory yesterday.

      On his third ball faced he got out for zero. What we call a “duck.” Nothing more humiliating, and particularly for this guy, who has scored 150+ in the tournament.

      Anyway, what I’m getting to, which riffs off what you’ve said in your comment, is what he said in interview after the game. He said that we all like to be winners, but sometimes you just have to “doff your cap.”

      I thought that was an incredibly gracious thing to say, and it’s what you say here too…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill, I feel much like Steve. All my life I needed to be best, now I am just happy and content to cheer on and clap from the sidelines. I am enjoying just being good enough now, much more peaceful that way. Light and Love Ingrid

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think while one is of working age it is important to strive to be the best within reason. If not you just become average. Average isn’t so bad but where would we all be today if you Bill were just an average writer? It was the interesting and very good (better than good enough) writing that grabbed all of us and made us all start following you way back nearly two years ago. It’s your striving to do the best that is taking you all over the world to do this PGS film If it was just “good enough” it wouldn’t be the blockbuster we hope it will become. Also, your book wouldn’t be doing so well if it were just good enough.
    I understand what Steve is saying but I feel Steve is being the best he needs to be right now. As a retired person, doing what you do each day isn’t just being “good enough” it is what is best for you at the moment after working hard all your life. If you want to lie in a hammock all day (when retired and I’m not saying you do this Steve) then maybe it is just the best thing for you that day and not just a good enough way to spend the day.
    I do think there are things that we can choose to do that are appropriately good enough rather than having to be the best. Things like possessions, food quality, price of clothes, the house you choose to live in.
    I think that type of “good enough” is something most pilgrims come back learning to accept.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynda, I like to excel in my personal endeavors. I don’t always, but keep shooting for that. However, in possessions, I have learned that good enough is just fine. I no longer reach for the newest, most expensive or best. I once bought a brand new Rolls Royce convertible on a lark. It was about as good as it gets back in 1984. It was good enough. Today I drive a 2002 GMC Envoy with 153,000 miles on it. It too is good enough. I once bought a ski condo in Snowmass, Colorado then saw that I could move up into a house, which I did, and then decided to design and build a showcase house. It was beautiful and good enough. But the day came when I could no longer afford it, so I sold it. If I had stayed with the condo, which was good enough, I might still have it. My past life was filled with example after example of moving on up to the top of whatever game I was playing. I no longer have the need to do that, and I find where I am is good enough. I trade the stock market these days. I am still not good enough, so I strive to be better with each day and each trade. Hope that might clarify what “good enough” means to me. My iPhone takes good enough pictures for my taste and desires. I would not appreciate the difference that I might get from a real camera. At least not today.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Steve, I think I’m not a “good enough” writer to convey what I actually meant. But it is as you say in personal endeavors such as a job or relationship, be the best you can be whatever that might be for the occasion and in possessions “good enough” is good enough.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve just stopped briefly on today’s drive to check in, and seen your comment Steve, amd yours too Lynda.

    Here’s my take on it. The issue of “good enough” is completely intrinsic to the values of the individual. In other words, what’s good enough for a young slacker might be not good enough for his or her father or mother. What’s “good” to one person might be “sub-par” for someone else.

    But does that matter? It’s still good for that individual.

    We each have our own standards of excellence, and we all try to live in the practical world.

    Personally, I take my work seriously, but I always strive for “good enough.” But what I regard as what’s good enough is pretty damn high.

    I hear stories of great filmmakers like Scorcese and David Fincher etc, and their standards of excellence. I hear stories of great writers like Le Carre and Cormac McCarthy, and I’m sure that they too work to what’s “good enough,” within their realm.

    Anyone who is serious about an artistic or creative endeavour is never totally happy with their work. But often you have delivery obligations, or you run out of money, or you run out of time. You have to be satisfied with what’s good enough. But with another year, another million dollars, another more sympathetic publisher or distributor, you might have been able to improve your work by 5%.

    So what’s “good enough ” is relative to the standards of each of us, the parameters of our work and living environment, and what’s expected of us – from others, but more importantly what we expect of ourselves.

    Now, off to drive another500kms!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. WOW, Bill, you’ve stirred the hornets nest again – or at least the bees nest!! This really brings me back many years, as I’ve sort of had that saying ‘good enough’ as my very personal and tightly held motto for life. Lots of experiences where other people could have or did, judge, but I was happy to be ‘good enough’, never thinking or feeling that I was not adequate or ambitious enough in those given situations. It wasn’t arrogance or that I felt I was better than others, just that I knew within myself that I was ‘good enough’ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Britta – we all are good enough, and as Julian points out, the operative word is “good.”

      As I said in my original post, I used to regard the term as something of an insult, but I don’t anymore.


  5. I found the “good enough parent” concept (as described on Wikipedia here ) to be a tremendous comfort as I struggled to be a super-excellent-mother. And failed. It was clear that the only important thing was that my children get what they needed. My pride and sense of perfection were unimportant. I don’t consider myself to have been an excellent mother, but I WAS definitely “good enough” as my children grew up to be happy and productive.
    – Clare

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  6. heh

    Yes, i crossed that Rubicon years ago ; but then, I’m an ex-techie. πŸ™‚

    Perhaps one clarification might help, though — in tech terms, the important word in “good enough” is “good”.

    So that depending what you need, and how particular you might be about your minimum needs and your particular wants for this or that, the value of “good” can vary between the absolute minimum of “at least average to expectations” and up to “perfectly satisfactory, within the limits of the achievable”.

    I build my own desktop computers — but unless I win the lottery one day, I’ll only ever have a computer that’s “good enough” — but my “good enough” will sill be very powerful compared to the average “good enough” of a typical person buying a typical desktop or laptop.

    Meanwhile, I’ve still not bought a tablet because I’ve not seen one yet that’s “good enough” (they do not exist in my price range requirements) ; and it’s only when Windows Phone 8 was released that I grudgingly accepted that a Windows smartphone was just barely “good enough” for my needs.

    “good enough” doesn’t rid you of the need for excellence : it’s an approach that seeks to obtain what you want and what you need, whilst avoiding any unnecessary more expensive options that might also exist, but also refusing to accept anything that’s NOT “good enough”.

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