When is a Pass good enough?


If you were given a choice between –
A. spending extra time to master your subject so you can get an ‘A’ in your exam, and
B. doing the exam now and passing it and moving on to the next level,
which would you choose, A or B?

There are no right or wrong answers, by the way. I’m just curious.

You see, for most of my life, I’ve gone with A. It’s very important to me on a personal and professional level to do my best, and to make sure that my best is good enough in an obvious and measurable way to others as well. Getting an ‘A’ means personal pride, satisfaction, achievement, significance, success. It makes me feel special.

So when my instructor laid out my options before my first weapons grading, I had a hard time going outside the thinking I’d been ingrained with for 40+ years.

Did I want to spend 3 months perfecting my technique and achieving an amazing grading, or did I want to get graded now, knowing I still had some refinements to make and wasn’t 100% confident of my technique?

In the end, I opted for B. I wanted to finish 2016 on a high note, getting my weapons sash and Level 1 certificate, so I can spend 2017 working on my Green belt. When I finished my grading successfully, I didn’t feel I had done enough – I know I could have done better if I’d had another 3 months. The experience taught me a valuable lesson – sometimes, good enough is good enough, especially for perfectionists and procrastinators. It’s one thing to aspire to excellence and want to maintain one’s internal standards. But sometimes it’s okay to settle for a pass, just so you can move on to the next level and not get stuck on a plateau.

[Photo credit: yasorsomething via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND]