My Greatest Lesson from 2018: Perfectionists Finish Last

Much of my identity has been shaped from my experience growing up in a Caribbean household with type A parents. More specifically, a mom who constantly pushed me to achieve success in all arenas of my upbringing – academics, extracurriculars, social interactions, you name it. My mom even put me in school at the age of 3, which I am grateful for, but sometimes I wonder if she made a mistake. Nevertheless, since I started 2018, I have been working to unlearn my focus on external accolades for internal validation.

Jadon Baron Gator Chomps with four others

If there’s one thing I learned from my Principles of Marketing class this semester, it’s the concept of paralysis by analysis. When making strategic decisions, many companies spend too much time analyzing a problem without taking any action. This process, while seemingly productive, is actually worse in the long run. Adopting a “do it, fix it, try it” approach is more effective, evidenced by many companies’ increased focus on agile management. As a very futuristic person, I often find myself hyper-extrapolating conclusions about my life (i.e. my grades and career), even if they may be decades from the present moment. While I acknowledge that it’s reassuring to know what’s coming in the future, it’s also exhaustive. In the words of Artie Shaw, “perfectionists finish last.” Sans the innate competitive assumption in his words, Mr. Shaw paints an accurate picture of what can happen to us when we engage in paralysis by analysis in our own lives.

Illustration of a businessman with briefcase in one hand and a fencing foil in the other connected with a bullseye

Today, I am happy to say that I am finding outlets that I enjoy for their intrinsic value, rather than their transactional benefits. Reading, dancing, and even drafting this article during finals week, are things that energize me. I wouldn’t say that I am proficient in the latter two, but I would call them my “strengths.” I know that sounds contradictory, but let me explain. During one of my internship trainings this past summer, I participated in a session about strengths and weaknesses. We framed our dialogue around strengths and weakness as being activities that either motivate or drain us, respectively. I didn’t quite understand what that meant until this semester, when I discovered some of my strengths.

I’m going into the New Year with a new focus on finding outlets and activities for their own intrinsic value. More importantly, I’m excited about the self-discovery that I’ll find along the way.

Thanks for reading,


Jaden Baron is a sophomore and a current member of FLA Class XV. He is working towards a B.S. in Finance with a minor in economics and is interested in opportunities within the retail, technology, or management consulting industries. In his free time, you can find him exploring Gainesville’s local food scene or dancing as part of UF’s GatoRaas Indian dance team. Feel free to email Jaden.