The Paralysis of Fear

George Couros
2 min readMar 16, 2017


“Perfect is the enemy of done.”

I saw this quote and it has stuck in my thinking. Often we hold back our ideas because we are scared of being criticized, sometimes for the major components, but sometimes for little things that people will nitpick. If that held people back, nothing would ever get done.

For example, when the iPhone first came out, here were some of the criticisms:

  • “Is there a toaster that also knows how to brew coffee? There is no such combined device, because it would not make anything better than an individual toaster or coffee machine. It works the same way with the iPod, the digital camera or mobile phone: it is important to have specialized devices.” — Jon Rubinstein, former iPod engineer
  • “iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.” — Matthew Lynn, Bloomberg
  • “There’s no memory-card slot, no chat program, no voice dialing. You can’t install new programs from anyone but Apple…The browser can’t handle Java or Flash, which deprives you of millions of Web videos.” — David Pogue, The New York Times
  • No stylus is provided.” — Edward Baig, USA Today

Now would I want the original iPhone over the one I have now? Absolutely not. But without the first one coming out, we do not have the iteration we have now, which at one point, we will laugh at for being so outdated. Yet, as of August 2016, it has been projected that over a billion iPhones have been sold. Seems like it has appealed to more than a few “gadget freaks”.

If I had to choose one, I would rather be a creator than a critic. Personally, I embrace there are flaws and imperfections with what I create, write, share, and do. To be the first one to acknowledge this also gives me ownership and ensure that I do not become paralyzed by my own thoughts.

I would not want to be the one that holds back the ideas of another person because I have instilled a fear of imperfection in their practice; this is weak leadership at best. Life is in beta; flaws will happen along the way. Embrace it, move on, and move forward. Without that willingness, nothing from our imagination would ever become a reality.

As you push the edges of the norm with your innovative ideas, hold onto your conviction and passion. If you don’t believe in your idea, why would anyone else-



George Couros

Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Consultant. I also like dogs.