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ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
3/11/21 1:49 p.m.
Driven5 said:

Work in manufacturing for a while. You'll see just how imperfect perfectly good things can be, and just how unreasonable it is to demand perfection. The easiest way to increase your level of  'perfection' is to make the requirements more imperfect.

Ain't that the truth.

Maybe defining a goal would help. Is your goal to build a perfect outboard? Or is your goal to have an outboard that's perfect for running around the lake?  Perfect and perfect-for-a-purpose are very different things. Maybe the distinction helps you.

If it makes you feel better I threw a tantrum last weekend trying to put edging on my plywood-topped home bar. First time I've ever attempted it. On a bar that is outside on the patio. After throwing crap around and getting pissed off because one of my mitered corners had a 1/16th gap I was struck by how silly I was being. It's a bar. In the yard. What was I really trying to accomplish? 

I read a discussion once about how artists and craftspeople are rarely happy with their end product. It proposed that this was partially because they improved their skill throughout the the time they were creating, and so by default they were better at the end than at the beginning. Looking back, they weren't happy with their work because they were more skilled now than they were then. 

As far as antique restoration, even if it's done perfectly and an item is restored to exactly as it was when new - I'd bet the original creator still thinks it's less than perfect.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/11/21 2:44 p.m.

Logically, perfect is only an imaginary concept, much like infinity. Sooooo, unless you happen to be Chuck Norris...

I prefer to think in terms of quality. I am always looking to improve the quality. 

APEowner
APEowner Dork
3/11/21 4:38 p.m.

I think about perfection in terms of producing a product that meets the requirements.  For example none of my personal race cars have a requirement for flawless paint but the brakes need to be great so perfection is properly machined calipers, caliper mounts, hubs, hats and rotors but they can be rattle can painted or bare metal.  Brake lines need to be neatly routed and properly mounted with good, properly formed fittings but if I need another bracket somewhere I can grind the paint off the frame, weld it on and shoot or even brush some paint on.  I don't need to figure out every bracket and tab, build the car and then take it apart for paint.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/12/21 8:41 a.m.

I'm in this exact spot right now.  On my fireplace project, I had all the skills I needed for the framing and installation, you guys helped with roofing and some other things.  I spent weeks learning about how to install stone veneer since it's something that was new to me.  I have now spent the last two months staring at the veneer and the mortar thinking JUST DO IT.  It's not that I can't do it, and I would much rather have the satisfaction of DIY, but this is the pretty part.

A mason is stopping by in about an hour to give me an estimate.

I'm the same way with cars.  I can do everything there is to do... except body work and paint.  I have tried it a dozen times and it always turns out like absolute crap.  I just don't have the knack.

When it comes to letting go of perfect, I take a clue from my friend's dad.  About every 10 years he would go to the dealer, trade in his old truck and buy a new one - usually the cheapest base model there was.  He would drive it off the lot, stop somewhere on the way home, and take the key and put a big scratch in the side.  His thought was, it's going to get scratched some day and I'll be pissed about it.  This way I'm in control of that, he would say.

WillG80
WillG80 Reader
3/12/21 9:02 a.m.

Something I heard on a YouTube video when I was remodeling my house was "progress over perfection"

Every time I'm stuck between something that takes 1 vs 10 hours, I think of that phrase. Is it really going to make that much of a difference? You can spend years remodeling a house or you can do it in a few months.
 

also, keep in mind that perfection is relative. When I sold my house I was interviewing several realtors. Every one that came to look at the house mentioned what a high quality remodel it was. They were probably comparing the updates with flipped houses. I didn't think it was that nice, but again, all relative. 

j_tso
j_tso Reader
3/12/21 10:00 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

When it comes to letting go of perfect, I take a clue from my friend's dad.  About every 10 years he would go to the dealer, trade in his old truck and buy a new one - usually the cheapest base model there was.  He would drive it off the lot, stop somewhere on the way home, and take the key and put a big scratch in the side.  His thought was, it's going to get scratched some day and I'll be pissed about it.  This way I'm in control of that, he would say.

While I'm not at that level, I get irritated about my car's scratches and dings from other people, but if they're from me I can shrug  it off.

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
3/12/21 12:31 p.m.

Even when I try for perfect, it still doesn't end up perfect, but when I try for good enough, that's something I can accomplish. 

When I was doing my mustang project I bought the car in February and wanted to drive it that summer. Summer came and went, as well as the next summer. So I re-evaluated the plan. Instead of thinking about my ideal finished product, and thought about making good enough for long drives without breaking down. Before long I was driving. It didn't have carpet, or a working radio, but an imperfect cruiser is a lot more fun than a half done garage decoration.

If you like perfect, get into a hobby where your OCD can go wild. When I'm feeling particularly OCD, I drag out one of my clocks that need repair. They are a hobby where perfect is not only good enough, it's required.

I also have hobbies where good enough can be considered overboard. Lemons racing. Just running is good enough.

I would suggest picking one of the boats and engines and concentrate on getting it good enough. In the water, useable. Then pick another boat and engine to restore to perfection. That gives into your OCD and gives you a place to burn off frustration when the perfect boat isn't going perfectly.  

RX Reven'
RX Reven' SuperDork
3/12/21 2:55 p.m.

Hi Mr_Asa,

I'm no help...it took me three months to complete my first tile project which was ~42 Sq. Ft. of kitchen counter space.  I had something like 30 Sq. Ft. of it done by Thanksgiving day so my future wife would have just enough space to prepare her first formal meal for her parents.  Literally, the menu was first determined so I could work out the space requirement.

I'm a huge fan of classic outboard motors...do you have some pics to share...would you ever consider selling one of your finished pieces?        

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltraDork
3/12/21 3:10 p.m.
RX Reven' said:

Hi Mr_Asa,

I'm no help...it took me three months to complete my first tile project which was ~42 Sq. Ft. of kitchen counter space.  I had something like 30 Sq. Ft. of it done by Thanksgiving day so my future wife would have just enough space to prepare her first formal meal for her parents.  Literally, the menu was first determined so I could work out the space requirement.

I'm a huge fan of classic outboard motors...do you have some pics to share...would you ever consider selling one of your finished pieces?        

Look up AOMCI, there might be a local branch you can visit, there's likely someone a lot closer to you than I am willing to sell you a motor.  You can probably find one on Craigslist or some such that needs work.  They're fairly simple to get running and cheapish to restore.  

Here's a couple meets I've been to. https://imgur.com/gallery/wR4HJ  https://imgur.com/a/nJpHtFU

I've got some halfway decent ones, though.  I sold the Merc a while back, but the Johnson is one of the best runners I've got.

Picked all of this up for $100 from someone who didn't know what they had when they decided to upgrade their late uncle's old boat.  Its a '55 Evinrude 25HP.  One of the ones I have apart and am working on making pretty, going to go on a '56 Herter's Mark III

 

 

RX Reven'
RX Reven' SuperDork
3/12/21 3:37 p.m.

Hi Mr_Asa,

Thank you very, very much for sharing your pics and the links.  For years, I've wanted a mosaic of small (~3 to 5 Hp.) outboard motors mounted on a wall as an art piece.

BTW, I sold the home with my first tile job and I remember overhearing the buying realtor say to her client "don't worry, if you'd prefer granite, you can easily make the change".

ROFLMAO...I went for 100% rigidity / 0% accessibility by building the counters and back splashes as three dimensional, self supporting structures and then tying them into every-single-stud with huge screws.  If the buyer went for the remodel, I'm pretty sure she wound up having to replace about a dozen studs. devil 

Anyway, super cool hobby...I totally get what you're in to.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/12/21 3:44 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:

So, how do you guys get past it?

Looming deadlines have a remarkable way of focusing attention and lowering goals.

A lot of why I haven't done much work on the RX-7s is because OVR and WOR still have not released a schedule.  I don't know when it is time to start panicking yet smiley

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltraDork
3/15/21 8:43 p.m.

This transformed into an extension of this thread and an effort to not be perfect and just get something done.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/iso-office-and-shop-lightingfans/180615/page1/#post3223427

 

It was satisfying and frustrating at the same time.

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
4/1/21 2:49 p.m.

Interesting thread. I deal with this a lot, too, though I'm gaining perspective as I age. Having dealt with customers who expected perfection, and with engineers (current, future, or wannabe) who get wrapped around the axle on the tiniest detail, I have learned to try for reasonable, measurable progress. 

I do allow myself to fritter away time on things here and there just for the joy of pursuing quality, but not when I or someone else needs the project to be done enough to put into service. 

One trick that seems to help is to take on smaller, simpler projects that can be fussed over. Old bicycles are easy to repair and restore (or upgrade), and you can go crazy with fit and finish if you like without taking up too much time or space. Then, having satisfied your urge to make something beautiful, you can spend time making something work. It's kind of the mechanical version of eating dessert first.

Done is better than perfect.

 

JThw8
JThw8 UltimaDork
4/1/21 8:01 p.m.

As others have noted, perfect is the enemy of completion.  There is no perfect.  Make it good enough and enjoy it.  

My own personal motivation has been the 6 month rule.  If I dont wrench on it, or drive it in a 6 month period then I put it up for sale.  If Im willing to let it sit that long without input from me or output from it then I dont care about it and its time to let it go.   There are very few exceptions to this rule and it has kept me motivated where needed and inspired me to let go when necessary.  If nothing else it gets me on the "prep for sale" path which often gets me working on it and interested again.

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Dork
5/11/21 10:43 a.m.

My quality is leagues from perfection.  And my imagination is very good at envisioning all the things that could go wrong that will derail the project.  I can often achieve functional but things usually look amateur not professional.

It helps me to think that whatever I'm working on is going to get USED.  It will get dirty, oily, dented, whatever.  That helps me to jump in and get started, not worrying about perfection.

Except, when it DOES need to have a perfect finish.  I don't want my house to look like it was done half-a$$ed so I sometimes call in a pro.

But I have two young children, so I tell myself even the house will get beat on and will never be perfect.  That helps me focus on making a quality repair, not a perfect repair.

I was never a good artist.  My skills were poor and I knew I could never realize what I envisioned so I never started.  If you never start then you never acquire any skills and you never get any better.  I'm trying to do more of the "starting" and "acquiring skills" steps so I can get better.

To the original poster: it might help to focus on the reality that this is a boat.  It's meant to go in the water and get used.  Any perfection will soon tarnish.  Are you going to use it or put it in a museum?

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/11/21 11:01 a.m.

I'm very nearly a year into the removal, teardown, and rebuild of the Mazda 13BT in my RX-7.  I ain't got time for perfection!

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/11/21 12:10 p.m.

The only perfect thing is imperfection itself. I've done plenty of things that end up perfect when I don't mean too and destroyed things that were perfect by trying to do more.

 

Finishing concrete has helped a lot. That E36 M3 is a ticking time bomb and the single best advice I can give a finisher is "95%". Everything has to be 95 percent or one part is 100 percent and the rest is 5 percent.

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
5/11/21 12:16 p.m.
Antihero (Forum Supporter) said:

...the single best advice I can give a finisher is "95%". Everything has to be 95 percent or one part is 100 percent and the rest is 5 percent.

This is profound.  I'm adding it to my philosophical arsenal.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
5/11/21 6:25 p.m.

This is actually one of the questions that I ask in management interviews; "How do you decide when something needs to be perfect or when it's good enough". Never have I NOT had to wait through a pause while they actually think about it. I can't hire a perfectionist since the job won't ever get done and I can't hire a "good enoughist" because the job does have to be done to standards so it's a pretty good tell.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
5/12/21 8:18 a.m.

"Perfect" hasn't ever been my goal but making things "right" always has been.  

I look back and see I've often been hung up on doing one detail absolutely "right" and I make a whole bunch of other compromises to make that happen...or...realize later the reason it can't be the way I want it is because some other details don't align with doing it that way.  So I try to keep that in mind and look at the greater picture when I start to have a situation like that.  I try...I definitely haven't mastered it.

I also realize that while I should be able to do anything on a car project...the simple fact is that I don't have the experience or desire to do everything.  I've had to tell myself that's ok.  Just because you theoretically CAN do something doesn't mean you should.  

To that end...I focus on finding projects that don't need paint/body work...and if I find one that does, I know I'll need to find a pro to do that work.  

When it's time to swap gears in a rear end...I'll take it to a pro.  Sure I CAN do it...but it'll kill all progress on that project while I research, spend lots of money on tools, procrastinate actually starting, etc.

Again...I don't think I've become very good at letting "good enough" be a mantra but as I age and priorities clarify a bit, I can see myself trending in the right direction.  (Though, anyone who came into my space would surely think I'm a very eccentric guy and a hoarder, lol)

An example about how I'm not good at this:  Spark plug wires.  I still can't just buy a pre-assembled spark plug wire set.  I don't particularly enjoy the process of custom-fitting spark plug wires over the course of a couple hours.  But I sure do appreciate the end result.  

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