Prince, Steve Jobs, and Picasso Were Not Perfectionists

Debunking the myth of the creative perfectionist.

Josh Spector
Dec 13, 2019 · 4 min read

The creative perfectionist is a myth.

Perfectionists are “people who refuse to accept any standard short of perfection,” according to the dictionary.

Prince trusted intuition over perfection.

“I want to make heart decisions in business. If you can’t do that, you’re not free.” — Prince

Perfection is often a shorthand to describe someone who’s prepared and precise. By that definition, it’s possible no musician has ever been more “perfect” than Prince.

It was the move of an artist— not a perfectionist — and resulted in arguably the greatest Super Bowl performance of all time.

It offers a lesson worth remembering in your own creative pursuits.

Steve Jobs didn’t shy away from failure.

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes.” — Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs pursuit of perfection was legendary, but it’s his take on failure which may be more notable.

Picasso realized perfection wasn’t the point.

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” — Pablo Picasso

Most artists follow a similar trajectory — their initial creations attempt to portray things as realistically as possible (to create “perfect” images) and their later work features increasingly unrealistic portrayals (less “perfect”).

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