The Art of Being (Done)

The Art of Being has been one of those defining books in my life.  Fromm’s suggestion that being is the ultimately goal as opposed to the goal put forward by society that having is the end all changed my whole outlook.  Well recently another important life lesson has emerged.  Lifehacker recently ran a post called The Done Manifesto which lays out 13 important lessons:

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

This is a mantra that I am putting forward both in my personal life as well as the leader at Prairie State.  To me, the goal of perfection is not possible.  We talk ourselves out of doing so much because we are not sure we can do it perfectly.  I want an organization that will be both good enough as well as an organization that is willing to fail.  Good enough doesn’t mean bad, it means good.  At some point we have attached a negative emotion to the concept of good enough.  Well, good enough is now good enough for me.  I have so much more that I want to accomplish, and spending energy on trying to achieve the impossible perfection is a waste of time, creativity, and energy.

To tie this back to the Art of Being, to me, being done is a much better outlook than having perfection.  Fromm argues that anything that we “have” can be taken away from us, but that anything we are will be with us always.  Perfection fades, rusts, becomes obsolete, and will ultimately end up imperfect.  I am much more interested in the satisfaction of being content with what I have, with what I have created, and how I lead.


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