Anti-perfectionism advice

I used to subscribe to the Mark Twain philosophy:

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Mark Twain

It was an excuse I used to justify my perfectionism. Here are some antidotes that have helped me overcome this tendency & put my thoughts out here.

A book is never finished. It is only abandoned.

Honoré De Balzac

Ideas get developed in the process of explaining them to the right kind of person. You need that resistance, just as a carver needs the resistance of the wood.

Paul Graham, “Ideas

See also: rubber duck debugging

Writing is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is.

Leslie Lamport

Constantly seek criticism. A well thought out critique of whatever you’re doing is as valuable as gold.

Elon Musk

The best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it’s to post the wrong answer.

Cunningham’s law

It is better to be interesting and wrong than boring and right.

Fred Hoyle

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.

“Howard Aiken, quoted by Paul Graham in “Googles

Don’t worry about being perfect. Make it bad, then make it better.

Robert Glazer

If you want to be certain then you are apt to be obsolete.

Richard Hamming, You and Your Research (1986) p187

We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as
finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or
describe how you had the wrong idea first, and so on. So there isn’t any place to publish,
in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work.

Richard P. Feynman, Nobel lecture 1996

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