Is “Good Enough” Really Good Enough?

Dips at Sunrise

This is a public service announcement from Nerd Fitness.

I need to bring a very serious problem to your attention.

A disease that affects millions of people around the world is growing stronger and more powerful by the minute.

Its symptoms include:

  • An increased desire to pat oneself on the back
  • A debilitating rationalization of unhealthy habits
  • A general apathy towards strenuous activity
  • An overwhelming satisfaction with mediocrity
  • Excessive use of the word “meh”

Doctors are working around the clock, but have yet to find a cure. If you work in an office or spend time in direct contact with unhealthy individuals, you are at risk for infection.

In fact, you may already be infected without even knowing it!

It’s called “Good Enough” syndrome and it’s wreaking havoc on our society.

Here’s how to defend against Good Enough, and what to do if you are infected.

How do people contract “Good Enough”?

Two of three Americans are considered overweight.  This means that for the majority of us, especially those who work in an office environment, it’s highly likely to be surrounded by unhealthy people.

If you’re not incredibly overweight, it’s easy to pat yourself on the back for not being as bad as your overweight friends or co-workers.  After all, things could be a lot worse, right?

Unfortunately, this is exactly how “Good Enough” gets started!  The benchmark for “average” line has been shifted so far out of alignment these days, it’s quite difficult to have an accurate portrayal of what “in shape” and “healthy” actually is!

And society isn’t making things any easier  – For example, clothing brands keep redefining their redefining their sizes!  A size 8 these days can be vastly different from a size 8 from 50 years ago.  Rather than offending people who are getting bigger, companies are just changing the number in their pants so that people feel better about their increasing waistlines.  Why?  Because it’s incredibly effective: if a woman wears a size 8 in one brand of pants and a size 12 in another, guess which brand she’ll be more likely to wear in the future? The one that doesn’t make her feel like she’s getting bigger (even if she is)!

This is absolutely the wrong attitude to have when it comes to fitness and health!  This promotes complacency and hides the real dangers of unhealthy living.  And just like that, “Good Enough” starts to take over.

Why “Good Enough” is so bad

I’m going to throw a golf analogy at you.

(Fun fact about Steve – I was the captain of my high school golf team. Yup.)

Let’s say you love golf and normally shoot a score in the mid 80’s [(for those non-golfers out there, lower is better)].  You decide to go golfing with three friends who happen to absolutely suck at golf.  They all manage to shoot 120 or more.  You shoot a 105, a full twenty strokes worse than your average round.  If you are infected with “Good Enough,” you’d pat yourself on the back for winning.  If you’re not infected with “good enough,” you’d be incredibly disappointed at how you played; who cares that you beat three people that are terrible at golf…you didn’t play up to your potential.

In golf, you’re always battling to improve your score against your previous efforts.  In life, every day should be a fun battle to see how much healthier, stronger, fitter, and faster you can become.

Not a golf fan?  Fine! How about an Iron Man analogy?

Tony Stark busted his butt to become Iron Man and save the world.  Unfortunately, he got a bit full of himself after his victory, fell in love with the ego-boost he received from being famous, and stopped pushing himself to become better.  He contracted “Good Enough,” which lead to all sorts of issues in Iron Man 2.  It wasn’t until he received a much needed dose of tough love (or punch in the face) that woke him up and pushed him to greater heights.

So why are Nerd Fitness rebels more like Tony Stark in the Avengers (a world-saving badass) and less like Tony Stark in Iron Man 2?  Because as stated in the Rules of the Rebellion, we’ve been inoculated against “Good Enough.”  We don’t care were we came from…only where we’re going.  600 pounds or six-pack abs, we are ALWAYS a work-in-progress, for there is always a dragon to slay.

Here’s how to protect yourself against Good Enough.

How to combat “Good Enough” Syndrome

Steve Kayaking

Life should not be lived in comparison to those around you.

Life should be lived by deciding what you’re capable of and then putting steps in place to actually make that level 50 happen.

Here’s how to give a rebel-roundhouse kick to the face of Good Enough:

  • Stop comparing yourself to those around you: This is tough, and something I’m guilty of all too often.  Who cares that your co-workers are unhealthy, unhappy, and continue to tell you “oh be quiet, you’re skinny” when you’re 40 pounds overweight!  If you want a better life and you don’t want to be overweight, be proud of your ambition and then get to work on fixing things!
  • Surround yourself with people who ARE better and stronger and smarter than you:  They say you are an average of the five people with whom you associate most…which means it’s time to start associating with awesome people.  If you want to become a better Halo or Starcraft 2 player, you don’t do it by continually beating people who are terrible, right? If you want to get in great shape, start hanging out with people who ARE in great shape!  Get inspired by them.  Respect their hard work and dedication. Do what they do. Shop where they shop.  Exercise how they exercise.  If you don’t have these options in real life, find your group online!
  • Never settle.  Superheroes can’t settle, or the world ends.  You might not be a superhero with the weight of the world on your shoulders, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a superhero to your spouse, kids, boyfriend, girlfriend, or friends.  You are their Captain America and they’re relying on you to push yourself to become a better person and show them the way.

Goonies never say die.  

Nerd Fitness Rebels never say “good enough.” 

I’m fine, thanks!

A few months back, I was contacted by my buddy Baker over at

He was putting together a pretty inspiring documentary on complacency called “I’m Fine, Thanks!” and asked if I could talk about complacency, “good enough,” and the story of my adventures with Nerd Fitness.  What resulted was some of the most epic footage of me ever filmed.  They somehow managed to make me look way cooler than I really am:  slow motion jumping rope on a mountain, dips at sunrise, epic trail running, and more!

All of the photos from today’s article came from the documentary!

I consider Baker one of my close personal friends, and I was so excited to be a part of this documentary as it deals with something I imagine a lot of us here in the NF community can relate to: deciding that “good enough” really isn’t good enough!

Here’s the trailer, where you can see some of the great footage shot (notice the epic dip scene late in the trailer!):

I’m Fine Thanks TRAILER

Baker and his crew recently put out a kickstarter campaign to raise some money for the documentary, check it out if you get a chance!

Fun behind-the-scenes fact: I filmed the epic footage and interview for this documentary after spending four days singing at the top of my lungs along with my favorite bands on the Rock Boat.  By the time I made it to Ashville, NC (where we filmed my portion of the documentary), I had absolutely no voice!  As you can imagine, this made the interview process somewhat difficult, so in between questions I gargled warm salt water to make my destroyed voice more audible.  While gargling at one point, I managed to drool ALL over myself and my clothes which made us halt production for a good ten minutes while I changed shirts and composed myself.  Sigh.

How I deal with “Good Enough”

This is how I personally keep myself protected against “Good Enough:”

I only have one chance on this planet.

I understand that just because others are unhealthy it doesn’t give me an excuse to be okay with “Good Enough!”  I understand that I need to surround myself with awesome people doing great things who want to kick complacency to the curb.  I understand that every day is an opportunity to get a little bit closer to level 50, and it’s my responsibility to live up to my potential as an eventual real-life superhero.

Every day, I want to wake up happy and go to bed proud.

I hope you want the same for yourself!

No matter WHERE you are on your own personal journey, how do you fight off  “Good Enough?”  

If you had “Good Enough” Syndrome in the past, how did you  find your cure?


I wanted to share this comment from Josh, that absolutely BLEW me away:

I think the root of the problem is that some people are lying to themselves about what is good enough. Good enough is by definition good enough. It really is. Different people define good enough differently. For some people, only perfection is good enough, where for others it’s only excellent, or better than yesterday.

The problem comes when you’ve called something good enough without really examining what that means to you. I think when Socrates said that “An unexamined life is not worth living” this is what he was talking about. If you’re flying through life on autopilot, good enough doesn’t mean anything at all.


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    90 thoughts on “Is “Good Enough” Really Good Enough?

    1. I had the same problem, I thought it was just the freshman 15 but in reality it was just me settling and comparing myself to my new friends and saying that they’re not super fit and active and that i don’t have to work as hard either. after already 2 years, enoughs enough and I am reversing everything that has happened to me. it is time to start exercising and eating all natural foods

    2. This is great! I always say to myself: “there is always room for improvement”, if it was for people around me, I would not be doing anything else towards achieving my goals, because I’ve never been overweight and being a fitness fanatic, I’m pretty healthy and fit, so people always say that I look good where I am, but it is not where I want to be. Love this! 

    3. Steve, this is just too good enough from you. I so much love this article and it surely means if everyone is affected with a problem and they are tagged with it, that does not mean you having same problem should leave like them – its what you believe you are that you really are.

      Adam is a good guy who I love so much and I hope he gets the right funding he needs for the post production.

      The good enough sybdrome i used to have is that as a Nigerian, it is relatively hard to make money legit online – once i was able to read blog like yours and that of Pat Flynn, i realised its just a myth by those lazy bones!


    4. Excellent post.  Its important to separate the pie from the crust.

      Its like you are training or your going through the motions.

      What’s your fav workout music?

    5. Wow really inspiring video 🙂 Makes me want to run out and do whatever the heck I want! Would love to see it when it comes out!

    6. I needed a kick in the ass, and here it is.  I’ve just about dumped another 10 lbs, and that is usually where I slack off.  I get bored with what I’m doing because I don’t see result, or can’t see any change in my body.  I have to learn to push through the blahs, and get further, and not be so scared of failure.

    7. Love this post! I have struggled for years with losing weight, and it was harder because I would always feel like I wasn’t so bad because I wear my weight well (evenly distributed), I’m smaller than many of my relatives (When you are 250 lbs comparing yourself to someone 400 lbs, it is easy to feel much better about yourself)…it was this year when I started gaining back so weight I’d lost that I realized I was tired of being good enough on a skewed scale. So great post! I’m tired of the American ideal of not hurting anyone’s feelings and that even the worst is good and ok.

    8. That documentary looks pretty badass. Like the people in the documentary, I’ve realized that the traditional career path is not for me. Now, I’m trying to figure out what is. There’s no blueprint to follow, no one to tell me if I’m doing the “right” thing, and it’s mentally and emotionally very hard for me. But I know that “good enough” is NOT good enough for me. When I’m old, I want to know I gave this life everything I had. That I carved out the path that was right for me, not just the easy path. Thanks for the reminder!!

    9. I was out on vacation last week & am now catching up on good reading I had missed. This one’s funny – I wrote about good enough (on the same day, incidentally), but from the other perspective, as in – your workouts ARE good enough!

      There’s always one more set you can do, 5 more minutes on the treadmill, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to be OK with doing just ‘a workout’. But if you’re workout plan is part of your overall goal plan, and you just finished your workout plan for the day, then it’s good enough – you’re on pace for your goals!

      My assumption was that people are already at the gym – yours is that people have hit a motivational crossroads..  I like it.

      Thanks for the great read (and the new motivation!)

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    11. THIS
      Thanks roy, this is exactly what I’ve been going through. Friends and family telling me (among other things) that I don’t “need to do this” because I “look fine”, I “got nothing to worry about”, blah blah blah.
      My own wife is confused about my fitness goals.
      I don’t just want to look amazing, I want to fracking FEEL amazing!

    12. I refuse to accept “good enough” and will NEVER EVER settle for “good enough”. That being said however, I have also been ‘lucky’ enough to overanalyse my life / feelings / thoughts and have also had people in my life that were willing to accept things as they are. I have been learning from this thankfully.
      I understand some of the resistance people have to questioning the status quo and thus their life – and maybe it’s because it seems like too much hard work to make the change themselves (maybe they’re waiting for the simple answer / quick fix / magic pill etc.) – but I think it can also be a fear of change itself, or the person’s perception of said change.
      Everyone is different and we’ve all had different experiences, but the thing I’ve learned so far is that you HAVE to question your life / opinions / attitude and do what YOU want to do – it is your life after all and no matter what anyone else says or thinks, you’re the one living it. You HAVE to push and grow and learn and experience, or else what are we here for?

    13. quite from American Psycho.

      Patrick Bateman: I’m on a diet.

      Jean: What, you’re kidding, right? You look great… so fit… and thin.

      Patrick Bateman: Well, you can always be thinner… look better.

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