Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Pragmatism is not so much realism as flexibility. There are a lot of ways to get from point A to point B. It doesn't have to be a straight line. It's just got to get you where you need to go. But so many of us spend so much time looking for the perfect solution that we pass up what's right in front of us.
As Deng Xiaoping once said, "I don't care if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice."
The Stoics had their own reminder: "Don't go expecting Plato's Republic."
Because you're never going to find that kind of perfection. Instead, do the best with what you've got. Not that pragmatism is inherently at odds with idealism or pushing the ball forward. The first iPhone was revolutionary, but it still shipped without a copy-and-past feature or a handful of other features Apple would have liked to have included. Steve Jobs, the supposed perfectionist, knew that at some point, you have to compromise. What mattered was that you got it done and it worked.
Start thinking like a radical pragmatist: still ambitious, aggressive, and rooted in ideals, but also imminently practical and guided by the possible. Not on everything you would like to have, not on changing the world right at this moment, but ambitious enough to get everything you need. Don't thing small, but make the distinction between the critical and the extra.
Think progress, not perfection.
Under this kind of force, obstacles break apart. They have no choice. Since you're going around them or making them irrelevant, there is nothing for them to resist.
-Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph