In early 1970, a Bangladeshi man named Muhammad was working as an economist at Chittagong University. After a devastating cyclone, bloody war of independence with Pakistan, and severe famine, Bangladesh was suffering deeply. Muhammad was heartbroken over the poverty he saw, knowing his academic economics were doing nothing to alleviate it.
In 1974 he visited a village to learn directly from the people how to help.
He discovered that women creating handcrafts were paying local moneylenders interest rates as high as 10% per week. He began loaning these women money from his own pocket, starting with just $27.
From that initial $27 investment, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus built Grameen Bank, which today has 2,565 branches with 22,124 staff serving 8.35 million borrowers (97% women) in 81,379 villages. The microcredit pioneer lends out more than a billion dollars a year in loans averaging less than $200. The bank has lifted millions of illiterate peasants out of the depths of poverty by helping them create small but thriving businesses.
Imagine what would have happened—or rather, what would not have happened—had Muhammad not taken action immediately. Imagine if he had overanalyzed, dawdled over a business plan, waited until he could investors on board, waited until the stars were aligned and everything were just perfect. In that case, Grameen Bank never would have launched and millions of people would have suffered as a result.
It’s exactly why countless other businesses never see the light of day; people are waiting for the perfect conditions to launch.
Principle: Never Let Perfectionism Hold Productivity Hostage
Few things hold back would-be entrepreneurs more than the misguided and delusional idea of perfection. The plain truth is this: entrepreneurship is messy. Conditions will never be perfect. Your product or service will never be perfect. Your business systems will constantly be in need of improvement.
5 Day Weekenders aren’t wantrapreneurs. They don’t sit around talking about all their great ideas, while never taking action to execute any of them. They act. They do. They produce. They ship products out the door, repeatedly and incessantly. They develop a tolerance for imperfect and incomplete. They understand that failure only exists if they give up; otherwise, it is a course correction. They know that problems exist to teach us lessons, as long as our vision is greater than our problems. Productivity, they’ve learned, comes from initiating and working hard in the trenches, not nitpicking and hiding in the lab. In life we never lose—we either win or we learn a valuable lesson.
In my next post, I offer some suggestions for overcoming the roadblocks of wanting everything to be perfect, with seven ways to conquer perfectionism and boost your productivity.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Are you a person who acts or who reflects? How long does it take you to put something into action? Are you willing to give it a go or are you waiting to make it perfect? Thank you for sharing.
Secure your copy of the “5 Day Weekend” book. 5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich with Purpose [Nik Halik & Garrett Gunderson]