As a teacher, I've often had to answer the question, "Is this good enough?" Students ask me this quite often, and every time I am faced with this inquiry, my response is this, "What do you think?" followed by, "The fact that you've even asked me this question already gives you your answer. Is this the best that you can do?" The answer I get is almost always a "No."
The truth is, many adults are guilty of asking this question silently, and of submitting work that is sub-par to what they are capable of producing. Whether the excuse is lack of time or lack of motivation, such rationalization is unacceptable, because the work reflects the worker.
When I mark a stack of projects, I often find assignments without names on them. Without fail, these are almost always the ones that were poorly done or incomplete, sometimes even torn and crumpled, and often submitted late. Was it an oversight on the part of those particular students? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Interestingly enough, the best quality projects, the ones that exceed expectations and blow me away, are always labeled prominently with the name of their respective creators. I can tell that these students took pride in their work, and they wanted everyone to know it.
What we produce reflects what we believe and who we are. If we put our name to something that is done terribly, or that does not meet a basic standard of acceptability owing to our carelessness or slack-ass attitude, what does that say about our character, and our reliability? I personally hold myself to a very high standard. Regardless of whether or not I have agreed with an assignment or a task either in school or on the job, I have never submitted something that I did not complete to the utmost of my ability. The reason for this is simple. I refuse to associate my name with garbage, and I care enough about my responsibilities and my reputation to do my best work at all times. Those who have worked with Hubbs know that he is the same way. It reflects favourably on us and on our integrity when we follow through, the best way that we can, on something that we have been entrusted to do.
Of course, nobody is perfect, and therefore the standard is not an absolute based on the product itself exceeding expectations; few have that talent to excel to that degree. Rather, it is an absolute based on the producer. What is "good enough" is what you have worked to the fullness of your ability to produce, and what you have tried as hard as you can to do. Within those parameters, your character cannot be questioned even if what you yield is not the "best of the best," because it is your best, and you can take pride in that work.
Maybe we can all re-examine that tasks ahead of us, and hold ourselves to a higher standard. Perhaps we can stop asking whether what we've done is good enough, and replace that by asking ourselves what our best is. I believe if everyone did their very best in everything, this world would be a different, far better place.
And I'd get to spend more time in Calgary ;)