Thursday, May 21, 2020

Perfect Enough

The title of this article is one of the sayings soldiers once used to determine that a job was done: "It may not be perfect, but it is close enough that it will work." This is an acceptable goal for preppers since most of us aren't experts in everything and don't have unlimited money to buy the very best of everything we might need.

Another way to express this thought is “Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. If you can't settle for anything other than perfection, you're going to spend a lot of your life being disappointed. Life doesn't always allow for perfection, and the pursuit of it can lead to results that are worse than “good enough”. Talk to any artist who works with a physical medium (painter, sculptor, woodworker, etc.) and they'll probably tell you that they have to set down their tools before they're completely satisfied with most of their work. There comes a time where any more “fine touches” will start to chew away at the majority of the work they've already done. I know this may be hard for some of you, but you have to get your mind set to accept that if something works, it's good enough.

Here are a few examples of what I mean, as they pertain to prepping.

Perfect water doesn't exist outside of a chemistry lab, so you're drinking “good enough” water on a daily basis. Your choice of filter or chemical treatment has to be as good as you can get it, but trying to attain perfection will slow you down and may end up wasting water that is good enough to keep a person alive.

Most filtration systems have a back-flush or cleaning cycle that takes clean water and uses it to purge the contaminants from the filter. Your home water softener is an example; it uses water to recharge the resin in the “bed” that traps the nasty chemicals you're trying to remove. Reverse Osmosis and Micro-filtration have a set percentage of “blow-by” water that won't pass through the membranes and is used to carry away the contaminants, and that water is wasted because it won't be available for you to drink or cook with.

Stop and talk to the people stocking the produce section of your local grocery store some time, and they'll tell you how much they throw away every day because of minor imperfections that have no effect on the taste or nutrition of the fruits and vegetables. If you're growing your own food, you'll be a lot less picky about what you'll put on the table, and the people sitting at your table will learn to eat what is put in front of them.

A lot of people would prefer to live in a mansion in Hollywood with servants and groundskeepers to do all of the menial work. That may be possible, but it isn't probable for 99% of the population. Find something that is “good enough” and falls within your budget.

Emergency shelter is similar. I have friends who might go “glamping” (glamorous camping) with a huge camper outfitted better than most apartments, but they wouldn't know what to do with a tent. As long as the shelter serves its purpose of keeping the elements off of you and your stuff, it's “good enough”. I've slept in 4-star hotels, on the bare dirt under a tarp, and everything in between. Shelter is one of the things that can be improved while still in use, so you can keep pushing closer to “perfect” while you're living with “good enough”.

While I'd love to have a rifle capable of putting every bullet into the bullseye at 1000 yards, I realize that neither my budget nor my eyes are up to the task. My bolt-action rifle with a good scope is more accurate than I am, so it is “good enough”. Yes there are better rifles out there, but I don't need them.

Pistols are a very subjective choice, so the idea of a “perfect” pistol is a fallacy. I own and carry what I can afford to shoot. Practice will make more improvement than buying a more expensive pistol.

Only you can decide which firearm is best for you. If all you can afford is a cheap revolver or Hi-Point, learn how to use it well and it should serve its purposes. I'm not saying you have to settle for something that doesn't work -- there is crap out there on the market, after all -- but rather that once you find one that does work, you should at least be content with it before looking for the next best thing.

Look at your preps and your goals, take a good look at them, and decide which are good enough. Then, leave those alone while you work on another part that isn't quite up to that standard. Don't waste time and money chasing perfection in one area while others are lacking.

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