Aim for Progress, not Perfection

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May 5, 2017

Kids come to me for advice, and they be like:

"Do I approach the girl of my dreams from 30 degrees off to leeward and speak at a 212 hertz pitch"

"If I take this steroid with this other steroid should I increase this third steroid by 83 micrograms per kg"

"Should I apply to this top law firm or this top medical school or maybe to this giant investment firm"

And I tell them: "You're not at a point where any of this shit matters".

Due to bad parenting and mass media, there's a culture of failure aversion and nothing-less-than-perfection in many people. What that leads to is people unwilling to try things out for fear of getting it any less than perfect.

Tough shit, bud. If you weren't born with it, you gotta do it and fail to get better. When you're better, then you can start thinking about perfecting whatever it is you're doing.

I don't like the kids who tell me "give me another year to prepare". The ones who go far say "tell me all you know, let me put my mom on speed dial, and sorry if I fuck this up but I gotta try it with my own hands". Not the kids who say "I'm so sorry I'll never touch this again", but the ones who say "I'll do better next time, please tell me how I fucked up".

That means you. No such thing as the perfect opportunity. You make the best of what you have, improve, and get ready for the next challenge.

Not sure how you should approach that girl? Good, go up to her and say "nice shoes, wanna fuck". Didn't work? Try something else next time. Keep trying. If you weren't a natural the first time, you'll be practiced by the hundredth.

Not sure what supplements to take? Which workout regimen to start? Don't take any. Pick Stronglifts. Eat well, work out regularly. Weigh your groceries, then your options.

Not sure which job to apply for? Bitch, apply for all of them, then sit back and think which one you like best. Hell, apply to that mom and pop convenience store down the road. Get a feel for what people want.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do the best. But getting there involves failing repeatedly along the way. Go out, fail more, learn, improve.

Post Information
Title Aim for Progress, not Perfection
Author grogbottle
Upvotes 716
Comments 61
Date 05 May 2017 03:40 PM UTC (4 years ago)
Subreddit TheRedPill
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[–]sharp7120 points121 points  (21 children) | Copy

Its not because of the media, its mostly because of our school system.

Anything less than 94%+ isn't good. It's better to spend an extra year preparing than take the SATs multiple times officially. It's better to take easy grade inflating classes, than to try something hard because your GPA might lower. If you have to take certain classes its better to take as few other classes as possible, instead of trying a lot of different classes at once to maximize learning.

This entire education culture just breeds people who become risk-adverse and avoid trying things otherwise they could get a bad grade that permanently lowers their GPA.

It's so fucking bad. So, so, so fucking bad.

[–]Newreddawn45 points46 points  (4 children) | Copy

A long time ago, I had my 4 year undergrad admission withdrawn because I took a calculus class my senior year in hs just to see how hard it really was. I wanted a tough class to keep me mentally engaged in a boring year. I even got a tutor, but it was so difficult for me. Ended up with a D. Ouch. My declared major had nothing to do with math.

Admissions told me that because I had a grade lower than a C on my transcript, regardless of whether it was a required course and regardless of my gpa, I was disqualified. I was devastated. I asked him if I would have gotten in had I taken clay sculpting instead with an A, and he said yes.

So yes, I very much agree that risk taking for personal development is punished in the current educational client. It does a disservice to our youth. Although, in this case it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because i ended up saving a ton of money and going back to the same school to get a degree after my transfer.

[–]badaod6 points7 points  (2 children) | Copy

That hopefully taught you that you don't need the degree at all.

[–]Entrefut0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Unfortunately there are certain degrees that you really do need to go to college for and one of them just so happens to be what I'm interested in.

[–]badaod0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

That is true. Then better hack your way up as described. As bad as it sounds, this is dealing with reality, quite in a RP sense

[–]DiggerClam2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Think of the positives, you probably would have gotten an E in pottery class.

[–]sd4c11 points12 points  (10 children) | Copy

Except getting that high GPA just gets you into a "better" college which you can give huge sacks of borrowed money to, in exchange for the opportunity to sit in a classroom for 4-5 years. Classrooms in which you will be forced to take plenty of time-consuming coursework completely unrelated to the skills of your chosen trade.

If you're lucky, the course catalog will have the right selection for you to graduate on time. Then an employer will be able to hire you for certain positions because you have a slip of paper saying a good amount of lecturers approved of your obedience.

Or instead, you can still borrow money, but use it to support yourself while you learn the ins-and-puts of a trade online, or in a garage, workshop, or trade school. Shortly thereafter entering the workforce, and generally not having to repay a mountain of debt.

College is a huge ripoff.

[–]twatbutters30 points31 points  (6 children) | Copy

College is a huge ripoff.

a. 90% of the fucktards saying this choose a career path where they earn dick (e.g. art, history, english majors)

b. Don't apply to expensive schools if you can't afford them.

c. Get scholarships/grants

d. Be black or hispanic on applications if you can. Affirmative action= easy acceptances and scholarship money.

[–]CUMGUZZLER_90005 points6 points  (2 children) | Copy

regarding point d - i doubt you can lie on your application without any consequences

[–]twatbutters3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy

It depends if you can pass for the race or argue for it. I've known indians who've argued that one of their grandparents were Nigerian or some shit in order to help them get into Ivy leagues or medical schools.

[–]CUMGUZZLER_90001 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

interesting. maybe there's some potential in saying you're gay and identify as black or some retarded shit like that as well

[–]politbur03 points4 points  (2 children) | Copy

a. 90% of the fucktards saying this choose a career path where they earn dick (e.g. art, history, english majors)

Citation needed. Last time I checked, it was the exact opposite and people like Mike Rowe encouraging people to get into trades instead of debt and useless degrees.

[–]twatbutters5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy

useless degrees.

There are the magic words. Again, the dickheads going for art, history, english, music, etc. majors have no marketable skills most of the time. Trades are infinitely better than these degrees from a practical perspective.

[–]LostLittleBoi0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

You're right in many ways but art really isn't that useless, it's a trade if you apply it right and can pay like any other skilled labor. Im a video effects artist and after 3 interships and an entry level job I can easily clear 80k this year (realistically I'll be lazy and make like 60, but that's freelancing for ya)

[–]sharp76 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy

Ya, college is bullshit I agree. Even the STEM majors have you take a lot of useless shit and test you on literally the most retarded useless crap.

And yet, vast majority of teens go.

I will say all the people I met there was the only benefit to college really. It would be nice if there was a place to meet people your own age like college, that didn't cost a shitton and force you to "study" irrelevant crap. OFC if no one went to college there would be so many more people your age around in general.

[–]politbur00 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

That is hilarious that you got downvoted. But hey, it's reddit, the bar is set low, even in the sub that supposedly encourages improvement.

[–]JohnWesleyRed0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy


You've just made a hasty generalization (secundum quid).

Let's clean this up.

It can be a huge ripoff.

It can be the best investment of your life.

There are plenty of people who choose colleges that are less expensive (and get financial aid if needed and available) and degrees that really prepare them for careers that suit them. Then, they study hard (and party hard), work part-time jobs during the semester, and get targeted internships in the summers. They build friendships and starter networks in college while learning to live on their own responsibly. Upon graduation after FOUR years, they immediately become a productive and well adjusted citizen making as much as 3-5x more than they could straight out of high school.

My above scenario is just one successful college path. There are MANY others, including 2 years of tech college followed by 2 years at a 4 year in-state school.

Of course, there are TONS of colleges, degrees and careers that are doomed from the start. They are way overpriced and the graduate has little to no chance of ever getting a positive ROI.

There are also non-college paths that lead to very successful careers and productive lives.

But, your blanket statement is unfortunately a hasty generalization that is wrong.

[–]colmatterson2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

I think a lot of it still comes from media. Every story on t.v. or movies or books shows near-perfect couples or flat-out dysfunctional relationships; perfect job, w/ good boss, friendly co-workers, versus Hell Inc., General Manager Beelzebub, and incompetent, dick-sucking demon lackey's. I get why, because in t.v. or movies, literally every second counts and it's difficult to portray accurate human relationships that involve disagreements and minor conflicts w/o the audience thinking it's indicative of a much, much larger problem.

But it does lead to a standard for reality that human beings don't actually live up to. And why would you want to, really? I do stand by the cliche that "differences are what...", whatever-the-fuck, makes us happy or brings us closer, however that adage goes. The differences that couples have, and the minor conflicts between friends, that's what makes life interesting and fun. It's a little different for work, b/c even the smallest amount of friction can lead to some serious unpleasantness, but I think it's true for most everything else. Of course, there's a limit to how much differences a person can take before it's too much and it isn't fun. Obviously. I should hope that doesn't even need to be said... The point, though, is that media doesn't portray relationships accurately; they portray relationships for a specific purpose of driving the story. It's basically never relevant to a plot to show how realistic a happy couple actually is, minor disagreements and all. It'd be too confusing for the average person.

Combine that with everything that you said, which is the indoctrination of humans from early childhood to adulthood, and there's basically no way for a "well-adjusted" civilian to expect anything less than perfection.

[–]sharp77 points8 points  (1 child) | Copy

Jordan Peterson mentions how they did studies on ideal couple relationships. The couples who never fight don't last long. Of course if you fight too much, they also don't last long. There is an ideal ratio, I forget what it is exactly but its a basically a few fights sprinkled around rarely that promotes challenge and growth.

You're right its the media too. Although, I think seeing it is really different from being trained to act on it constantly in school. Still, the media is pretty bad, although you're right its hard to demonstrate balanced characters in a short amount of time, but I still think it can be done.

For example, in most action movies the main characters breeze through enemies. It bothers the shit out of me. Whenever I see untrained main characters beating up opponents that are trained with no explanation it drives me absolutely insane. Something that really bothers me for example is star wars 7. The main character rey is the epitome of "perfectionalist" mentality. She has a PERFECT record in that movie. She literally magically breezes through every situation imaginable. It sets such an insane precedent for any child watching. Imagine a kid tries a sport and sucks at the beginning (which everyone does unless they play a lot of sports and acquired generalizable skills). The kid is going to think "rey never sucked, I guess I'm not special and not meant to play this sport". They will give up without even getting far into the sport. They'll avoid anything that is hard at first because they have this unrealistic expectation that there are things you are "naturally gifted/talented" in.

Compare that to the show Dare Devil. Where even after decades of training DD still has a lot of trouble with regular thugs. The fighting in that show is so visceral because of it. You see DD getting hit all the time, and it really feels like he is barely surviving every encounter, especially in the first season. DD didn't wait until he "was perfect and could beat opponents without getting hit", he just recklessly went out there, fought the best he could, and through constant fighting got better and better. He got his hands dirty. That's how people get better at anything really.

I can tolerate shitty movies perpetuating this nonsense, especially since no one is forcing you to watch the movies and there are so many around you can find good shows/movies to watch instead. But there are hardly any alternatives for school. Especially for high school and below. Its just disgusting we are doing such a bad job teaching children. We aren't even trying, we are taking the dumbest approach to teaching on the planet. "Just sit there and let me talk nonsense for 9 hours every day, that will get stuff into your brains right?". Hopefully with things like self directed learning and charter/private schools becoming more popular we will start to see a change though.

[–]colmatterson2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

That's awesome about Daredevil. I haven't seen either Star Wars 7 or more than just a couple episodes of DD, but that sounds like really good writing for DD. I am bothered by standard hero stories, where after the character has worked their way up from, like, gang members and ne'er-do-wells to super villains and meticulously orchestrated terrorist organizations, those low-level thugs never provide any threat at all to the character ever again. A desperate, scared, sick junkie with a gun can kill a person just as dead as anything else.

I get that the hero, by that time, has learned how to fight better, can strategize his challenges faster and smarter, gained much more all-around combat experience, but that doesn't make him impervious to the scheme's of low-life crooks and the general hoi polloi of the criminal underworld. Most of the time, heroes won't even bother with the standard, every-day criminals once they've established themselves as a hero. Unless something is threatening on a planetary scale, it's like they just quit working altogether. It bothers me. Directors, and writers, it's not like they have to show entire fight sequences and build dramatic tension every time a purse snatcher is thwarted, but they can still show enough of it so that the audience knows, "okay, this person isn't too good to save the common man anymore," you know? Like,

[scene transition] Captain Badass is dodging punches from a goon wearing a black beanie hat. His phone rings. He answers while calmly blocking and parrying the man's wild blows "Hello? No, I'm not busy... A threat to city hall? Escaped prison inmates from the city asylum? Missing radioactive plutassaranianimus from the government laboratory? AND missing schematics from the Dr. Insaniam's top secret rocket engineering workshop? Yes, I'm on my way! ... No no no, I can wrap this up any time I want." Captain Badass snaps his phone closed and with a single punch knocks his assailant out cold onto the ground. He places one hand cuff around the unconscious man's wrist, and the other around a nearby gate. Captain Badass bends his knees, preparing to spring, looks at the neighborhood children staring in awe, mouths agape, and says, "Smoking dope is for dope, kids! Stay in school, listen to your mother, and always brush your teeth!" Captain Badass springs and soars away into the sky. As the scene fades to black, we hear Captain Badass's voice saying [into his phone], "Yes, Police? I'd like to report the apprehension of a dangerous criminal. You'll find him hand-cuffed to a fence in front of the Museum of Unnatural History, at 3rd and Michaels..."

Lol, okay, I had fun writing that, I probably didn't need to go nearly so far, but you get the point. We get to see him still putting in the time to help regular people, fighting regular criminals. Maybe one of those times, an assailant actually gets the jump on the hero and wounds him gravely with a gun or a knife, and now you've got character development: Hero realizes that despite being able to stop cataclysmic events, alien invasions, ancient underground-dwelling Gods and an uprising of mutant sewer people, he is still mortal and still in real danger every time he wears his costume. Maybe he's been getting an ego lately from all his victories and this brings him back to reality. Maybe it brings him back to reality too much, and he feels like he can't be a hero anymore, falling into a depression. That's an entire arc based around a realistic possibility, AND the chance for the audience to connect with the hero on a personal level, the common ground of being fallible, having weak moments, self-doubt, etc.

But instead, like you said, a hero picks up their profession with total perfection from the very beginning. Man, fuck that.

[–]DrawsShitForYou1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

The SAT thing depends on the school. Most schools only ask for the highest SAT grade.

[–]PM_ME_UR_TECHNO_GRRL77 points78 points  (0 children) | Copy

This, very much. In everything.

Furthermore, if you are trying your best and people see the effort you are putting in, you will get people wanting to help you succeed without even asking for it.

Aim for relentless progress. Clearly stated goals and level of effort are the only things that matter.

[–]BigMawsmidget22 points23 points  (0 children) | Copy

Isn't this "Just go lift", but just branched out into other areas basically, and I approve regardless cause it's really that simple.

Trying to optimize something without actually trying which leads to never doing, or it never becoming a habit.

[–]RedPillFusion43 points44 points  (8 children) | Copy

Systems and processes are far more important than goals and achievements. G&A are natural byproducts of living a full and abundant life.

[–]madacw12 points13 points  (0 children) | Copy

It's easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis. Break out of it, take action and get into momentum.

[–][deleted] 7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy

However, when you have a goal, make it everything you live for. Constantly think about what you are doing to achieve that goal, and if you can be more efficent. The goal may not matter much, but if you internalize the goal as your main focus then your process and system will naturally get better or be thrown away for another better system or process.

[–]i4mn300 points1 point  (5 children) | Copy

Is this a quote from a book that goes into deeper things about this?

Enlighten us more if not.

[–]RPGrit4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams, He talks about Goals vs Systems in it

[–]RedPillFusion0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I highly recommend this book.

[–]iiaGrer0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Go out and find Prometheus Rising by Robert Alan Watts. This book will take you down the philosophical​ and phycological rabbit hole giving you the tools to understand and rebuild your mind.

Also Thinking Fast and Slow will give you understanding of your cognitive bias and how to negate it.

[–]RedPillFusion0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Both great reads, particularly TF&S

[–]cuntrolbot11 points12 points  (0 children) | Copy

Whether you are a rank beginner or a master of your craft, you should be asking "what can I do better" instead of "how good am I". "You gotta reach for the top to stay on the mountain"

[–]newName5434567 points8 points  (1 child) | Copy

Also known as Nirvana Fallacy.

[–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (0 children) | Copy

Failed parenting is the basis for why the millennial generation is so weak.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (2 children) | Copy

Try to get 1% better every day.

In any skill.

[–]Endorsed Contributorex_addict_bro2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

"no more zero days"

shit, even a very small step sets up your brain in a way, that your subconsciousness does some work while you sleep. Where would you get all those sudden inspirations from?

[–]Kalidane6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy

Close enough beats still reading about it every time.

[–]fullyoptimized2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

A great book on this is How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. Highly recommend!

[–]Jgalayd2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

This so true and pertinent now! I've been pushing myself into my career hardcore ever since getting fired from my "full time" job where I made the most ever that previous year. Since the I started freelancing at 15 an hour busting my ass learning as much as I could while getting my hands on every opportunity I could take. Now two years later I'm making 27.50 on a bad day, with better hours getting better appreciated by my clients because I am confident in my abilities. Most importantly I've made my mistakes, I've had clients pissed at me on gigs, I've gotten into fights with crew making an ass out of myself but I thank all that for teaching me so much. Thanks to this group I've finally started to really appreciate how life an relationships work, thanks to this group putting my spare effort into enjoying the rest of my 20s. I have a killer credit score though as anyone may say to me it don't me shit other than what's going on right now. I'm trying on multiple chicks right now due to the healthy intrigues I've read here. Fuck yeah I'm ready to pursue and fail but pursue more!

[–]count_bratula1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

Not sure how you should approach that girl? Good, go up to her and say "nice shoes, wanna fuck". Didn't work? Try something else next time. Keep trying. If you weren't a natural the first time, you'll be practiced by the hundredth.

"Fail again. Fail better" --Samuel Beckett

[–]GermanScrewdriver2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett

I prefer it complete ;) Also: fail faster

[–]WielderOfLogic3 points4 points  (9 children) | Copy

While I agree with what you're saying, your title is bullshit.

Aim for progress with perfection in mind.

Edit. Y'all miss understand what I'm saying. Perfect should be the end result. Not something that will be achieved tomorrow. I didn't imply that you shouldn't start something if perfection is impossible. Also, having difficulty starting something is all about the initial mindset. One step at at a time. I'm talking about the process as a whole.

[–]OSaraiva9 points10 points  (2 children) | Copy

I spent much of my youth being afraid to start projects because of that concept of perfection. I was afraid to fail. Once i scrapped perfection and went for improvement and quality i started doing much better.

[–]abc691 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Exactly, don't let perfection get in the way towards reaching greatness

[–]LostLittleBoi0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Think his idea is just an extension of that. If you keep improving eventually you'll be perfect, might now actually be acheivable during your lifetime but if you improve every day eventually you'll have nothing to improve if you have a trillion days

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Progress can mean perfection. If I am at 99% the only thing left is progress aka perfection.Trying to go for progress is way better than perfection in any scenario.

[–]DreadedOreo180 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Imo The better mindset is someone's always better than you and perfect doesn't exist

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

deleted What is this?

[–]WielderOfLogic1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

The definition of perfect in this situation is subjective. Pure perfection is for the most part impossible, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't think about how to get there. Therefore, a new level of perfection needs to be defined by the individual. My definition is most likely different from yours or anybody else's for that matter on any given skill.

I honestly can't understand how y'all can read my sentence and come to the conclusion that progress was left out. The word is there, preceded by 'Aim for'. But yeah, let's focus on the latter part which was just the end goal of progress. If you want to do something for the sake of doing it regardless of skill level, well that's your prerogative.

[–]SrPildoraRoja-1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

In the best case scenario, yes, what you're saying is true. But some people (me included) struggle to start doing new things since I may be wrong with the way I'm approaching X subject. But in reality, any logical approach will be useful since I didn't even start in the first place.

[–]count_bratula-1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

Perfect should be the end result.

I don't think there's any point worrying about perfect. You can always think of another tweak to make, another correction to apply. At some point, the result is good enough for your purposes and additional work yields diminishing returns.

[–]TALzFGxawb0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

unless you're autistic and just paint perfectly starting from the corner and working outward, you should paint by blocking out the biggest things first, then medium details, then small, then fine, etc. and it'll probably look good enough for show business after the medium details

approach basically everything this way, and your life will work out pretty well. (and if you do have an autistic superpower in some skill, you're probably not worrying about these things, you're just doing it and killing it)

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Don't go to the paint store while they're pouring foundation

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Fall down 9 times, get up 10

[–]colmatterson0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Solid. I would say there's a limit to that, in the sense that the opposite extreme isn't any better than the first. Going for perfection to going for literally anything, that's obviously also bad. And in some circumstances, waiting to get what you know you are really looking for is good, too. So basically, just like anything else, incorporate OP's advice into your life, but don't live and die by it.

[–]Unlucky_Leader0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Old zen saying: "the master has failed more times then the apprentice has ever tried"

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Great post bro.

Applying this to women, the one thing that I struggled with for a long time, like most guys, wasn't actual rejection. It was the FEAR of rejection. I felt like IF I was rejected by a girl it would mean that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't a real man. I didn't deserve to hold her damn hand let alone kiss her or have sex with her. So I completely avoided approaching girls. I had crushes on girls in college that never amounted to anything because I never even had the balls to walk up and say "Hi".

When I finally got over that fear I still got rejected. Shit, I got rejected about 20 times last month. But all of that is progress. I took it on the chin, kept rolling and went up to the next girl. And because I did that I bagged 4 different girls in 2 weeks.

The key is to go out and make the effort, and when you fail (which you will), learn from your mistakes and make progress. Eventually you'll have a natural intuition when you talk to EVERYONE. You'll see a girl do something or say something that you've seen before and you'll realize how to respond to get the outcome that you want. You'll recall something that worked on one girl, use it again, and see that it works exactly the same way on another girl. It's a skill, just like playing an instrument or coding. But in order to refine your skills you need to work on them consistently and apply the knowledge you've gained from past failures.

[–]jtzabor0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I would have said to aim for perfection but accept progress

[–]GOATmar-1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

Bad advice.

Alwasy aim for Perfect. Always be proud of any Progress, even the smallest.

Always be proud of Progress, but never be complacent.

[–]sd4c-2 points-1 points  (1 child) | Copy

If you're smart enough to do well in engineering, you're smart enough to work for yourself

[–]politbur00 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Couldn't be further from reality.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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