The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make it, build it, ship it, upload it, or share it. Just do your best and get it done. And keep going. As a recovering control freak and perfectionist, I’m working hard to finish more projects and cross them off my to-do list, even if they’re not perfect. 

“The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good” is one of my all-time favorite quotes. As a recovering control freak and perfectionist, I’m working hard to finish more projects and cross them off my to-do list, even if they’re not perfect. 

2019 was a tough year for me. I lost my beloved father in February – one of the worst times of my life. I miss him dearly. My girlfriend lost her step-father in November, and my sister’s husband lost his mother in October. Lots of tears and sadness. I spent more hours in hospitals, nursing homes, and funeral homes in 2019 than I care to count. 

I feel like 2019 was the “Year of Loss.” It was also the year of starting and stopping many projects, with very few reaching the point of completion. Granted, I went to Colombia in June and to Belize in December with my girlfriend, finished building the railings on our new backyard deck, and spoke to 250 people at Jeff Goins’ Tribe Conference about mindfulness and creativity in September. So yeah, there are those things in the “completed” category for the year.   

I made a list of all the projects I was working on in the fall of 2019, and I was able to count ten. Ten projects! Each was a work in progress. Some were at or near the starting line, some were close to the finish line, but most were somewhere in the middle, in the vast open expanse of limbo.

With so many projects on my plate, I was frustrated and embarrassed. I frequently felt overwhelmed and confused, which is quite unusual for me. It felt like if I took any steps to move a particular project forward, the energy I spent on that project would come at the expense of neglecting the other projects. I would start and stop and start and stop, and then turn my attention and energy to another project. It was slow going at times, but I never stopped moving forward and trying my best. 

My audiobook project received a huge investment of my time and attention throughout the year. It was like running a marathon. I’m happy to report that I finished it a few weeks ago, and it should be available on Audible and many other digital outlets and libraries worldwide any day now. More about that below.

As I mentioned in my manifesto, “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good:”

“A few years ago, I finally realized my procrastinating tendencies were rooted primarily in my need for control and my desire to do things perfectly. I put off starting something or doing something if I wasn’t exactly sure of how it was going to turn out, or if I didn’t know how to do it perfectly. Fear of failure and imperfection kept me stuck in a rut of inaction, doubt, and insecurity. Sure, I wasn’t making any mistakes, but nothing was getting done.” 

Inaction, doubt, and insecurity were the main ingredients in my terrible recipe for Failure Cake. With 2019 in the rearview mirror, I’m committed to making 2020 the “Year of Completion.” My goal is to complete one exciting project and then move on to the next one. I’m not going to make any of them “perfect”… I’ll be happy with making them “very good” and shipping them, sharing them, uploading them, or whatever. I’m going to take action and build the plane while I’m flying it. 

Here are a few projects I’m focusing on right now and plan to share with you and the world over the coming months:

    • The audiobook version of Passport Forward will be available worldwide in the next week or so. You can hear my Preface here and the Retail Sample (sneak peek) here. Once the audiobook goes live, I’ll start running another marathon of sorts as I move deeper into the marketing/promoting phase of the project.
    • The Courier-Journal (Kentucky’s largest newspaper) invited me to speak to 350 attendees at the Storytellers project on April 8th at the Muhammad Ali Center. The theme is “Travel: What a Trip,” and I’ll tell the story about my epic day of trekking in the Himalayas where I arrived at the 16,300-foot pass an hour after sunset and experienced hallucinations and numbness while climbing. Yeah, what a trip! If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you in the audience.
    • My good friend and super-talented counselor Henry Lucas and I will be launching our new “Maximize Your Life” 8-week course. We’ll co-create a community of great people who are up-leveling their lives and moving beyond regrets, routine, and excuses to open up more space for something (or someone) new. Overcoming limitations, building sustaining habits, chasing dreams, and having fun are on the menu. Stay tuned for more details.
    • My friend Tracy hosts small-group cooking classes at her historic home in Fort Worth, TX, sharing healthy eating habits and delicious food in an intimate setting with her guests. Tracy and I will be presenting several weekend retreats combining mindfulness, meditation, and cooking classes. The first one will be April 24-26. The menu will include quiet, stillness, community, tasty treats, and more confidence in the kitchen. Think Zen Monk meets Culinary Badass. If you’re interested, just let me know and I’ll get you the details.

Will any of the above new projects be perfect? I can guarantee you they won’t be. But I’ll step through my fear of failure, push through my tendency to procrastinate, and give each one my best shot. And then I’ll keep going.

So I ask you, how often do you feel stuck because you’re striving for perfection instead of “good enough?” Do you often beat yourself up for procrastinating or for jumping from one project to another without completing anything? What’s one project you want to complete in 2020? What (or who) is standing in your way? Leave a comment below or send me an email.

You don’t need to make anything perfect. Just make it, build it, ship it, upload it, or share it. Just do your best and get it done. And keep going.

Remember, the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Here’s to making 2020 the year of getting stuff done. 

Begin well and do not fear the end.


Nicolas Cage and His Downhill Slide

February 2014
Louisville, KY

Dear friends and family,

This update will focus entirely on how badly Nicolas Cage stinks and why he is the Worst Actor Ever. I know you immediately think, ‘Of course, he’s the worst actor ever, because he totally stinks. He’s PP – Putridity Personified.’ I hear you. Allow me to elaborate…

In case you haven’t noticed, I am happy to report that Cage has not unleashed any more crappy movies in the past few months. And we have a few more months before the Nicolas Cage Sh*tsurge hits again, splashing absurd plot lines, horrific acting and facial gestures, hollow scripting, empty catch-phrases and cinematic raw sewage all over the world’s movie screens again. Oh, the humanity!

Hindenburg - 'Oh, The Humanity'
"Oh, the Humanity" - Hindenburg Disaster (0:48 of the clip)

And the obvious bad news is that the septic Nic Cage damage has already been baked into the cake, with countless lives and movie nights ruined beyond repair. Oh, the humanity! Enough is enough. No Más!

I regularly check Rotten Tomatoes to see the overall consensus on a movie before I watch it in the theaters or at home. Rotten Tomatoes is an handy-dandy aggregator of movie reviews. Movies get a score of between 0 and 100.  If the reviews are less than 60% positive, the film is considered ‘Rotten.’ A rating above 60% is considered ‘Fresh.’ I almost never watch a movie with a rating below 80%. I’m just saying.

I looked at Rotten Tomatoes and saw the film history of Nicolas Cage. I am a math guy, so let’s dig in and crunch some numbers, shall we?

It showed scores for 63 movies that Cage has either appeared in and/or produced.  Of those 63 movies, 34 (or 54%) were considered ‘rotten’, while only 29 movies (46%) were ‘fresh’.

Explain to me again… how does this guy keep getting work?!?

Let me give it to you straight… More than half of his movies have been rotten bombs, including crap-festivals like ‘National Treasure’ (45%), ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ (35%), Windtalkers’ (33%), ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ (25%), ‘The Wicker Man’ (15%), ‘Season of The Witch’ (10%), and ‘Deadfall’ (0%). Yes, ‘Deadfall’ got ZERO Percent. Seriously… A ZERO?!?

A Very Disturbing Trend

The Nic Cage trend is Total Toilet – If you do the math, the recent Nic Cage Toilet Trajectory looks like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Since 2007, he has appeared in and/or produced 19 movies with Rotten Tomatoes ratings. Of those 19 movies, only 4, count ’em, FOUR of them got the Fresh rating (above 60%). The other 15 stunk, stunk, stunkity stunk.  15 stinky movies out of 19 = 79%. No bueno.

Why anybody in their right mind would spend money to go see another Nicolas Cage movie, when there is a 79% trending chance that it will be a crap-bomb and waste of time and money, is way beyond me.

Let’s say you want to plant a new tree or ornamental shrub in your front yard. Imagine that you will have to spend about two hours digging a hole, planting it, and fertilizing it. If you knew that it had a 79% chance of it dying on you, would you go through all that trouble and expense, or would you choose a more reliable, resilient tree or ornamental shrub?

Or imagine you are going to bring home a new kitty cat or puppy dog to surprise your kids who have been pleading for a new pet for years. Imagine that you knew that animal had a 79% chance of dying and being buried in your back yard. Would you do that? Hells no you wouldn’t.

So then… why in the H would anybody in their right mind EVER go see another S-laden Nicolas Cage movie? It defies logic. It defies statistics and common sense. Buyer beware.

Let’s Crunch Some Numbers

Did I ever tell you I was a Math Major in college? Well, I was. So there, the cat’s out of the bag.

I put some of that schooling to good use recently and came up with a Line Chart that shows the history and trajectory of Nicolas Cage’s movie career. For those of you who like to play the ‘Home Version’ of ‘Let’s Bore People with Numbers and Charts’, I got the data from the Rotten Tomatoes Nicolas Cage page and created the chart using a great website I discovered.

Here are the Nicolas Cage chart and list of movies. Click to see the stunning details and irrefutable proof of how bad he stinks…

Nicolas Cage Rotten Graph
Nicolas Cage Box Office Misery

Here are a couple of notes about this chart:

  • Nicolas Cage Stinks. He stinks.
  • This chart shows the average score for each year that Cage had a movie with a Rotten Tomatoes score. Notice there were no Nicolas Cage movies in 1985 or 1988 (now THAT's what I call good years.)
  • The red line across at the 60 mark is the cut-off for the Rotten vs. Fresh ratings. Notice that since 1997, when Cage was in 'Con Air' and 'Face/Off', he has spent almost all of the next 16 years in the cinematic toilet.
  • He scored a 9 for his efforts in 2008. Yes. A '9'. You think he would have just quit and learned to play golf or do something useful with his time.
  • The Green 'Trending Line' shows the downward mathematical representation of Nicolas Cage's career. It's not a positive trend to say the least. Next stop... Toilet.
  • Nicolas Cage is a Stink Tank.

Top 12 Nicolas Cage Movies – Nothing “Top” About it At All, Really

While I’m boring you to tears with charts and figures, please allow me to bore you further with another chart and some more figures…

Here is a chart showing Nicolas Cage’s Top 12 movies, as ranked by Box Office revenues by Rotten Tomatoes. 

The Green line shows the total Box Office dollars (in $Millions) for each movie.

The Orange line at the 60 mark is the Rotten Tomatoes cut-off for ‘Fresh’ vs ‘Rotten.’ I have also shown the list of movies and their box office figures below.

Click on the images for the gory details.

Nic Cage Top 12 Chart
Nicolas Cage - Top 12 Box Office
What does this chart say?
  • Nicolas Cage stinks.
  • I love bullet points.
  • A paltry 2 of his Top 12 box office movies were above the Rotten Tomatoes cut-off of 60 points. The other 10 were 'Rotten' movies.
  • One of those 2 'Fresh' movies was 'The Croods', which was an animated movie produced by Dreamworks. All Cage had to do was bark into a microphone and collect a paycheck.
  • BOTH of his abysmal and unbelievable 'National Treasure' movies were stink-bombs. The original movie got a 45 rating, and the follow-up 'Book of Secrets' got a whopping 35 rating (I abbreviated the sequel as 'BOS' on the chart above, but I should have used 'POS' for 'Piece of Something' to be more accurate.)
  • His 'National Treasure' movies were 2 of his 3 top box office hits. What does this say about us as a society? (rhetorical question... please don't answer. But it's not good.)

No Más, Nicolas Cage – Por Favor, No Más!

The gentleman thing for Nicolas Cage to do would be to just surrender and pull a Roberto Duran and simply say, “No Más. I quit. No More. Enough’s enough.” 

You gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em you dipsh*t.

FYI – The 1980 classic boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran is perhaps one of the most famous of all times. It was a very solid fight for the first 6 rounds. In the 7th round Sugar Ray started taunting and teasing Duran with some rope-a-dope and foot shuffling moves (about the 3:25 mark of the video.) Sugar Ray even pulled the old trick where he was winding up his right fist while sucker punching Duran with his left. Duran was becoming humiliated, exhausted and physically beaten.

What a great fight. In a rarely seen boxing occurrence, Duran decides he has had enough in the 8th round and says, “No Más” (“no more”, in English.) He quits the fight and throws in the towel. His half-ass capitulation happens at about the 4:30 mark of the video. Legendary.

Much like our buddy Nicolas Cage, Duran’s boat had already crashed on the painful shores of punchbag loserdom. At least Roberto Duran was man enough to know when to say when. I am not a praying man at all, but I say my prayers each and every night for at least 90 minutes that Nicolas Cage throws in the towel and quietly retires to live in his mom’s basement and agrees to never appear in public again.

Please pray with me, “Santa Claus, please bring me five years of Cage-Free Movies.” Get it… Cage-Free, like the chickens and the eggs? Can I get a “Hallelujah?”  OK, let’s move on.

No Más Nicolas Cage… Por Favor, No Más! No bueno. No bueno. Oh, the humanity!

I guess what I’m trying to say is… I love my dad.

Peace & Love from a remote bunker somewhere in the Highlands of Louisville, KY

Lex Latkovski

Inventor of the Muscle Shirt
Vice President of Hummus
Now with 20% More Twerking

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