Happy New Year! Make some mistakes.

I’m not the first person by a long shot to say that the “good enough” is the enemy of the “at all”. I’m probably not the last to get around to believing it, either. One of these days, I probably will remember it.

I’m a perfectionist. I hate doing things wrong, or doing things poorly. This is a common flaw among computer folk, at least, and it leads to some outstandingly bad code and design decisions – what “wrong” and “poorly” mean can get pretty myopic if you’re not careful, and you end up with a huge pile of rubbish built to handle every case that you can imagine but that frequently doesn’t handle any of them well. It’s been important for me to recognize what “good enough” means, and aim for that rather than some imperfect view of perfection.

But that has the same pitfalls! If “good enough” is the ideal, then there must be a “perfect” good enough, right? Finding exactly the right compromise solution is now just as important as finding exactly the right overall solution, and in some ways that’s even harder to decide on and simply do.

It’s important to do things wrong. It’s important to do things poorly. Doing things wrong and doing them poorly means you’re doing them at all.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

–Neil Gaiman