Is Blue Good Enough?

from Jeremy

We all have our preferences. Jan's favorite color is green. Mine is dark blue. Joshua's is light blue. Preference is one thing, but when does it get to be too much? Is it ok if everything we wear is our favorite color? How about if we want to put food coloring in food to make it that color? How about if when mommy and daddy want to get a different car, we only have a choice of one color? How about when we take an airplane, it has to be a certain color? Admittedly, we've not experienced that last one, but I offer it to pose the question: At what point is it not ok that everything be our favorite color? 

This gets to a larger issue in terms of living our lives: Is it ok if we're not getting exactly what we want? First I'll focus on the immediate question of kids preferences, then I'll work out to the larger issue. 

Joshua is particular about what he likes and doesn't like, as are most children. He knows what he wants, making his case without remorse. We've worked hard to ensure that we provide for him. All of his basic needs are far more than covered. Yet, we're working hard the other way when it comes to satisfying all of his wants. Most of what he asks for he doesn't need, nor are we inclined to give. (Although I am a little worse at this, as I usually want to play with a toy he wants too!) We're working to teach him the difference between a need and a want. Yes, we may like light blue, but if the store does not have light blue socks, but we need socks, the regular blue ones will be fine. 

We've indulged his desire for light blue quite often: birthday cake, shirts, pants, pillow cases, towels, floor mats, etc. Lots of stuff we were going to get him anyway because he needed them were available in light blue. Therefore, we got light blue. At the same time, when there's something he needs, and it's not available in light blue, we get what's good enough. We're not always going to get exactly what we want, but what we have will do the job, which is really all we need. 

Every day is a struggle to work this out for Joshua, and for ourselves. Particular projects at work, specific cities in which to live, unique housing options, timelines for retirement plansour own health issues, the list is endless of things that work out in alternative ways than the ones we'd prefer. Hence the name of our company: The Good Enough Empire. We're building toward our ultimate aims, but know that things are not going to be exact every step along the way. This goes into our thinking on life and choices in general, and stems from Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion fictional town of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota. Much of what the citizens of this imaginary place strive to achieve is simple "Good Enough." They know through life very little, if anything, is perfectly exactly what we expected and desired. Yet, if you get "good enough" you're doing pretty darn well. 

Same goes for everything for which we're working every day, and for Joshua's desire for all things light blue: Sometimes regular blue is good enough. 

Does this mean that we are willing to accept less than ideal? Absolutely! That's exactly what it means. Ideal is a creation of the imagination. It may be possible, but life is full of the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle). How much effort does it take to get to ideal, vs. Good enough? In some cases (Brain Surgery, piloting an airplane, going on a space mission for example) good enough will not do. For everything else on our terrestrial plain, good enough is just that. Knowing when to strive for the ultimate, when to be pragmatic, and understanding the variance between the two situations is key to living a Comfy Life. 

May you find your Good Enough, whatever it may be. 

What do you strive for? 

Do you only accept the ideal, or do you find yourself happy with good enough? 

Is good enough a cop out for lazy people? 

Has anyone great or famous ever been ok with good enough? 

What drives people to want to gain power, money, fame? Do they feel good enough?