Overdoing And The Law Of Diminishing Returns


Have you ever stumbled upon something that is completed but you can’t help but make little changes here and there to make it better? You spend hours trying to perfect it yet somehow you always find that you can do more. Satisfaction, something that you just can’t get. What exactly are you doing? Overdoing it that is. It can also be explained with the Law of Diminishing Returns. For starters, this concept is not new and is used in economics. Here, I’ll be trying to use it to explain how some actions we perform bear no sweeter fruit than what we were already reaping.

I cannot write about the number of times I’ve found myself in situations, trying to perfect them, just to ultimately realize that I overdid it. Countless times, I’ve worked on my assignments, essays and even simple tasks such as cooking, just to realize how redundant my last few inputs were. Not everyone can be satisfied with their work in the first try and that is ok. It’s actually a good thing if you spend some extra time trying to make your work better. But the question is when do you stop? When is the right moment to let it go?

For this, you need to take notice and stop doing whatever you are doing when you start getting negative returns. Adding too many small ingredients to make my simple dish better won’t make it taste like it came out of a Michelin 5 star restaurant. I waste my time, energy and ingredients on something that would have sufficed without all of that. When you are done writing and editing, you know that the essay is done. But yet you spend an extra hour contemplating minor details that probably won’t matter. Overanalyzing so much just to scrap it all down and start again. Even something like staying up late studying for an exam, thinking that you are putting in extra effort will probably do more harm than good. Sleeping a lot to cure your sleep deprivation can ultimately make you sluggish. I can go on forever with this list.

What we should be focusing on here is the idea of realizing that it’s ok to accept the final outcome – the way it is. You did the best you could but because it’s making you anxious and antsy, it suggests that it’s definitely not a good idea to keep going.  Being content with what you have can sometimes be seen in a negative light. Why be content when you can make something better? But in reality, being content is not all that bad. I am by no means telling you to be satisfied with what you have but understand when your little efforts don’t make a greater impact than your first attempt. Doing something when you are exhausted and anxious won’t make it better. Listen to your body, take a deep breath and just let it happen. Be confident with you have done. Analyze how much your little add-ons matter, if they do. Once you have this figured out, decisions could not have been made quicker.

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