Reading and experience train your model of the world. And even if you forget the experience or what you read, its effect on your model of the world persists. Your mind is like a compiled program you’ve lost the source of. It works, but you don’t know why. — Paul Graham, in his essay, How You Know
Design school seems like a distant memory. Years of working in the field starts to wear you down. Finally, after 5–6 years the time comes when you get to lead a large design team. You become more of a fireman than a designer of any sorts.
The problem is that trying to do things perfectly all the time often leads to worse prioritization decisions when you take a step back. Take the following (rather silly) example: I’m planning a party and I want it to be awesome. I take out my linen napkins from the closet and realize Egads! They are all creased! Well, perfectionism suggests that I should immediately get out my iron to smooth the napkins, which’ll take me about 30 minutes. But wait — what else could I do with 30 minutes? I could go out and rent a karaoke machine (because who doesn’t love karaoke)? Or, I could spend the time to blow up a bunch of silver and black balloons (because that’ll make the place look festive and classy af). Or, I could make a few large pitchers of a potent and tasty concoction that’ll get my guests feeling light as those aforementioned balloons. All of these ideas are probably more likely to make my party awesome than perfectly smooth linen napkins.