How to Do Something Well: Completion

Sometimes we put too much emphasis on reaching perfection. But that can backfire on us when we’re trying to do something well.

How is it that people get better at what they do? They practice, sure. But beyond practicing there’s a more important tactic that most successful people use. They finish things. They bring their work to completion—and often.

How does that play out when the average person is attempting to get better at something? It’s easy to put off doing something because we’re afraid of doing it wrong. That results in many of us not doing anything at all. We don’t always complete things, and sometimes, we don’t even try.

For my running regime, I told myself that the more I ran, the better I’d be. Because it’s true. It didn’t matter where I ran, how fast, or on which terrain. The fact was, if I ran I got better at it. My endurance increased, and the musculature of my legs improved.

The cool thing was–I got better just by doing it. I didn’t even have to do it well to be able to see improvement.

Completing a workout a few times a week was utterly satisfying.

The point of the completion exercise isn’t to become perfect, but rather to recognize imperfection and uncertainty and let it become part of the process. I’ve written many a college essay from a vague or ambiguous prompt, straining against the posed question because I wasn’t sure what the professor was expecting.

After turning my essays in, I would get respectable grades on them because often times the professor was just gauging whether or not we could think critically, engage with a topic and finish a full essay.

That lesson was one that I’d like to extend to other areas of my life. Sometimes, you just need to give yourself permission to suck. Completing something allows you to get used to the process, and eventually improve because you’re not afraid to keep going—you know what it feels like to finish.

So, get your work out there even if you have no idea what you’re doing at first. Because that’s the first step in eventually being great.


The picture above is of me and my friends right before I ran my first 5k ever! Such a proud moment.


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