This blog’s inspiration was the poem ‘I Wish You Enough’ that I have had in my files for over a dozen years. I believe I first read it in Chicken Soup for the Soul.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough Hellos to get your through the final goodbyes.
The story goes that it was a Dad wishing this to his daughter, a wish that had been handed down for generations in his family. The wish is for a life filled with just enough good things to sustain a person.
I recently heard a great use of the word ‘enough’ at a football alumni event. We were going around the room doing introductions and summarizing our on-the-field achievements when it came to one individual who answered, “I was good enough to be asked to play and played well enough not to be asked to leave.”
Enough is defined as an amount for as much/many as required or needed. Also stated, to the required degree or extent. Winston Churchill said, “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” To do enough is to always do what is required. If our best isn’t good enough, then our best needs to get better. During a Shark Tank episode, Mark Cuban told Robert Herjavec, “You don’t dream big enough,” which I found ironic as I was also told that once in my career during a performance review. The question becomes, who is setting the benchmark for enough. In my case, I had other elements, not work related, factored into my ‘enough’ that my boss had not included.
When is perfect needed and when is good, enough? Perfect can be the enemy of good and sometimes done is better than perfect. The idea is that striving for good—or even just done—instead of perfect can increase productivity. Now we don’t want our surgeon to finish the operation and think, “eh, it’s good enough” or a structural engineer to get 80% of the way through a bridge build and decide that “done is better than perfect.” But if we’re working on less life-or-death kinds of projects, as most of us are, we need to get things done well enough.
Spending these past few years with a technology startup I have come to learn that a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the ‘most time efficient’ release that consists of the smallest number of features possible to provide value to users. In a perfect world, new products and features would have all the bells and whistles upon initial release. But when we add all those bells and whistles it adds time, resources, and costs. Then if the product flops, that’s a bigger financial drain. Releasing an MVP—something good enough, but not perfect—allows one to get feedback earlier and start producing revenue sooner.
“That’ll do” is another expression used to acknowledge something as being sufficient, that it is quite enough, and even well done. It gained in popularity from its use in one of the final scenes of the movie “Babe.” After winning cheers and adoration from the crowd, Babe sits down next to his master who says “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”
These past two months including the entire Easter season we have had to celebrate the Mass within our homes. Although this has bothered some, to me it has been good enough, sufficient. It follows a Christian tenet that I have held dear most of my life – to know that at this moment, truly, I am enough just the way I am. At this moment mass within my home is enough.
God doesn’t ask for perfect or abundance. God creates abundance out of what we have to offer even if what we have doesn’t seem enough. In Chapters 6 and 8 of Mark’s Gospel are the stories of The Feeding of the Thousands. When the disciples ask Jesus how he is going to take care of all those people, he doesn’t give them an answer but instead asks, “What do you have to offer?” Despite their response of limitations that was basically “not enough.” Jesus hears their response and having compassion to feed the crowd answers, “That will be enough.”
It strikes me that Jesus’ question to the disciples is the same question he asks us today, “How many loaves do you have?” During our work week, filled with emails, phone calls, meetings; combined with family, household, and individual needs; we struggle fitting in prayer, scripture, or service. Jesus asks us “How many minutes do we have?” and our answer being that same tone of limitation the disciples had, “maybe seven.” “That will be enough.”