Good is the enemy of great. So said James C. “Jim” Collins, American author, consultant and lecturer in business fields.
Now, let’s be clear: far be it from me to insist on greatness, or the unending pursuit of it. That road is hard. I just thought it was an interesting concept.
That good-ness can interrupt the striving for greatness seems to make sense now that someone has pointed it out. Feeling that something is adequate, or pleasing, or even fabulous, is likely to end the process of searching and stretching. People talk about the last 2% as being what separates the good from the great. How on earth one achieves that last 2% is something I’ve yet to discover, but that’s OK.
Greatness and the last 2% are ideas that apply to art. Of course, it’s all so subjective and unmeasurable. Perhaps they can be applied, for us mere mortals at least, to the work and effort involved. Maybe the last 2% in that realm leads to a more significant chance of greatness overall.
And let’s face it. Very few people achieve greatness. A focus on it as the only worthy outcome is probably fraught. But one can maintain a greatness of honesty, display a greatness of attitude, chase down a greatness in personal relationships. Maybe these are things that we can aim for and perhaps they are no less valuable than greatness in a particular field?