I went once to the wilderness with some friends. We thought that spending time in nature would be pleasant. Once we were there, we saw a hill and decided to climb it. We thought that the summit of the hill would be a nice place to see the sun set. When we reached the top of the hill, we saw another hill that was even higher, and we decided to forge on before the sun set to reach the summit of the higher hill – surely the view was clearer and further from the peak of that hill.
Once we reached the second hill we sat and looked around and noticed a third hill, almost a mountain, rising in the distance. That hill blocked our view and we decided that nothing would satisfy us than to hike to the top of the third hill to witness the sunset. We set off across the valley between peaks and ascended the summit. When we reached the top, we looked around at the view and realized that we could see a limitless vista – but we had missed the sunset while we were climbing.
Too often we chase the next summit while missing the overall goal. Seeing the sunset from the second-highest mountain is still the achievement of a goal – missing the sunset while ascending the third-highest mountain is not. It’s important not to miss the goals you wish to achieve in life because you are seeking perfection. There’s a clever line: perfection is the enemy of the good. Thinking that everything in your life has to be perfect (or nothing) may be the enemy of making everything good. To summarize: stay put on the second hill, and enjoy the sunset. Anything else is wasted effort.