5 Ways to Enjoy an Unfinished Masterpiece

Written by Dragos Roua

How many times you lost an opportunity because you didn’t take action immediately? Because the odds seemed to be against you or because you were unprepared? I know I did this at least a hundred times. I avoided action, because the context wasn’t perfect. Or complete. Or just because it wasn’t the right moment.

5_ways_to_enjoy_an_unfinishedGuess what: that perfect moment never came. Instead of doing something, anything, I left that opportunity pass me by. Even more, every time I lost such an opportunity I said to myself: Well, it wasn’t worth anything, since I didn’t found the perfect way to handle it.

Looking back at those situations, I can clearly see now that a single action, any action, as imperfect and incomplete as it may have been, could have made a big difference. Even if that action was initially a mistake, moving things around would have eventually changed the whole context.

And as I advanced in life, opportunity missed after opportunity missed, I realized that what prevented me to take action was a certain idea about being complete. If there was something missing from the context, the situation wasn’t complete enough, hence I couldn’t move forward.

Took me a lot of time to realize that things are already complete, in their inner structure. It was me who wasn’t yet prepared. It was me who was waiting for a perfect setup, a perfect partner, a perfect opportunity. Like waiting to create a masterpiece from a single touch.

And then I realized that the masterpiece I was waiting for was already there too. Every little thing was ok. Just unfinished. The context, the situation, the partner, everything was fine. But incomplete. And just because it wasn’t finished, it didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy it.

So, I changed my approach completely. Although I was aware of the fact that things weren’t finished, I started to enjoy the context as it was. And started to listed to my intuition, letting my actions flow around, even if the overall configuration was skewed. It was my action which was pushing things forward. I didn’t need any perfect moment for that. I created it. Even if I was wrong or incomplete. But at the same time I advanced. I learned. I experienced.

Little by little, I even started to take pleasure in enjoying an unfinished masterpiece. Here are a few of the situations in which you may want to take any action, even if the masterpiece you want to create in that context won’t be completed by that action.

1. Business – A Risk Taken Now May Worth Way More Tomorrow

If intuition tells you it would be a good deal, go for it. Take that risk, even if you’re not 100% sure. There is no such thing as a 100% foolproof deal, especially in business. The market can turn around in minutes, the clients can change their minds in a split of a second and, generally speaking, in business there are no real guarantees. Everything can change. So, a hunch worth sometimes more than 100 classes of Harvard Business School.

I remember that 10 years ago, when I was just starting to build my company, I was talking with an old friend. He told me that in a few months there will be a major solar eclipse, which will be seen only from Romania. Something clicked instantly and the next day I verified if the domain name was available. It was. A domain name was around 50 USD at that time (for life) but 50 USD was a small fortune for me.

I had to make a choice. I had 50 USD available but that money was for something else, specifically household expenses. I was living in a studio and I had to pay monthly some fixed expenses like water and so on. I decided to negotiate that payment with the building supervisor hoping to postpone it for the next month and to use that 50 bucks to buy the domain.

It wasn’t an easy thing, the building supervisor was a pain in the ass and I had a pretty tense relationship with him ever since. But after buying that domain, I built the total unofficial site of the eclipse. In a few weeks, the Ministry Of Tourism, which started a campaign promoting Romania through that event, contacted us via the agency that was implementing the program. Guess what: they hired us to make the official website of the eclipse.

It was my first project over $20,000  I bought a beer to the building supervisor from the first installment.

2. Blogging – Leave That Idea Flow Unhindered

If you’re blogging and you just got hit by an idea, follow through it the best as you can right now, for tomorrow it may be obsolete. Too many times I surprised myself delaying some posts, although the underlying ideas were valuable and the topic was hot. It’s too early, let it cook, I said to myself. And most of the time, I didn’t finish those ideas at all.

One episode specifically tied up to this approach was a challenge started from a blogger called Luciano Passuelo, from Luciano wrote a post called Solve Any Problem With A List Of 100. And then a blogger friend of mine, Mike King, wrote another one called 100 Ways To Be A Better Leader. In which he challenged me to pick a topic and write my own list of 100.

So, I put it into my task list and decided I will take care of it later. I wasn’t yet prepared to write such a big post. But somehow, even if I felt completely vulnerable, I decided to take the challenge. I postponed a few other posts and immersed myself for 2 weeks in writing 100 Ways To Live A Better Life. It was one of the most challenging blog posts I ever wrote. After that, I wrote another few 100 posts items, and each time was easier than the first time.

The post 100 Ways To Live A Better Life got featured on Delicious in a few hours after was published and created a huge spike of over 20,000 unique visitors. Not only that, but it still remains one of the most visited posts on my blog, with more than 200 visits each day (after more than a year since it was published) and with almost daily retweets.

3. Relationships: There Is No Such Thing As A Perfect Dinner

One thing I learned about relationships is that you’re never prepared. Never. Things and people are just happening into your life and you gotta go with the flow when you feel inspired. Give what you have today, don’t wait for the perfect set up. It may never come.

Five years ago I was driving my car with a girl called Diana, with whom I was just starting to get out. Diana was to become the mother of my second child, Bianca, but at that time I had no idea about that. As we drove through the town, on a February evening, Diana suggested to go see the Black Sea. Just like that. In the winter, to see a place 300 kilometers away from our town, on a week day.

I wasn’t prepared at all. Didn’t have gas, was tired and hungry. But somehow the idea clicked. Seeing the Black Sea on a winter day was something I was always wanted to do. So, I stopped by a gas station, bought some chocolate bars and filled my tank. In just a matter of minutes, we were on the highway.

Took us the whole night, but we saw the Black Sea. Years later, Diana told me that my determination during that context, although none of us was prepared, was something that really drove her to me. After we had Bianca we traveled a lot, both in Romania and in Europe in the same let’s see this right now style. We’re not together anymore as a couple, but we did have a fantastic relationship.

4. Parenting: Your Kid Needs A Dad, Not A Perfect Father

I don’t know if you have kids, but if you do, then you’ll be really familiar with what I’m going to say: it seems that you can never do enough for your child. Everything you do, you say or you provide must be perfect. You care about your child food, clothes, friends, everything. You want him or her to have a perfect life.

A few weeks ago, Bianca, my 4 and a half year old daughter, was invited to a birthday party. It was a boy and I knew Bianca had a little bit of a crush for him. But I wasn’t prepared at all. I was in the middle of my separation from Diana, money seemed to reach my bank account way slower than normal (to be euphemistic) and on top of that I had a lot of work to do.

But I went to the toy store, bought a symbolic gift, put Bianca in the car and went to that birthday. Needless to say that I was the only father among a dozen of mother carefully looking after their kids. Needless to say that I felt a little bit embarrassed about Bianca’s gift. Needless to say that I wasn’t on a perfect setup for that event.

But somehow things started to fall into their places. Bianca was extremely happy and all the kids were having a great time. The gifts didn’t count anymore. Bianca had a ball. And I was happy for that. And now, every time a new interaction opportunity arises for Bianca, like a play date or something like that, I just go with the flow, even if I’m not prepared.

5. Travel – The Best Place In The World Is The One You’re Visiting Right Now

If you love to travel, you know that a good trip is a combination of a gazillion ingredients. The transportation, the scenery, the food, the sites. It’s difficult to have a perfect trip and, most of all, once you’re in a completely foreign country you simply can’t escape the feeling that you’re loosing the best spots.

Let me tell you a story about that. During my first trip to Thailand I was eager to visit as many places as possible. The tourist bulimia, if you know what I mean. At some point, while I was visiting an historical site near Chao Phraya, a small local approached me. In a few words, he told me he will offer me a cruise to the floating market.

I knew that floating market was something I wanted to visit so I said yes. I wen on a long tail boat and after a few hundreds meters on the main Chao Phraya, we entered some side channels of the big river. It was an incredible contrast between the opulence and the touristic side of the main Chao Phraya and those narrow and crowded channels with thousands of houses suspended on pillars.

After I met a small boat with a lady trying to sell me some souvenirs, babbling incessantly floating malket, floating malket, I knew I was scammed. But somehow, that part of the trip, the total unexpected turn of events, the feeling of consistent reality made from that detour one of the most powerful parts of the trip. The best place of a trip is the one you are visiting right now.


Back to our topic, I hope now you realize that you don’t need a perfect setup for enjoying a masterpiece. Because, believe it or not, you are that masterpiece. Exactly, you. A brilliant, yet an unfinished masterpiece.

Enjoy yourself as you are. Don’t wait for a time of perfection, because that time may never come. To be honest, this fascination for a finished masterpiece is utterly morbid and incredibly limiting.

Live what you can, with whom you can, for as long as you can. But live it to the fullest. Even if you’re not the best you can be, even if the other one is not perfect, even if it’s for a much shorter time than you’d want.

Living your life to the fullest is the only way to enjoy your existence as a perpetually unfinished masterpiece.

Because the only moment that masterpiece will be finished is when you’ll die.

Some Amazing Comments


About the author

Dragos Roua

Dragos Roua is an entrepreneur, a father, an ultra-marathoner, a tanguero, a dreamer, a risk taker. His blog, is often placed among the top 100 personal development blogs in the world. He also teaches people how to create audacious goals and then how to reach to them, through its own online school


  • I loved this article! Although I’ve already started to adopt this attitude after years of perfection fears reading it (in the different areas of life) really helps me remember – just show up and do what you can! Yes, we must strive for excellence but the world is complex! My first book Personal Keys to Self-Help Success comes out in a few weeks and I realized I had left out a Bibliography….but the book is complete and people who are reading it are enjoying it. So who cares if it’s not perfect. Thanks!

  • Hi Dragos, to be frank, i often skip those long articles, but not this one. It’s so inspiring and full of wisdom. We often anticipate negative results and hence stop ourselves from stepping forward. But you’ve illustrated the beauty of going with the flow, take risks and accept the unexpected and surprises. In short, ‘things might not be as bad as you thought and therefore, don’t wait; Now, is the best time, the perfect time, , enjoy it!’. Thanks again Dragos~

  • Wow, Dragos, this is chock-full of great advice. I don’t know how you do it. It’s true that we should jump on ideas whenever we have the chance. Even just writing them down in a notebook or creating a small mind map can help record those ideas for future reference.

    I think going with our gut is also useful in some situations, but it depends on how much is at stake. A $50 URL domain is a little less gutsy than taking out a 20,000 loan at the bank and starting a small business on the spot. Risk-taking is crucial, but it definitely needs to be calculated somewhat systematically. You need to picture the worst case scenario and make sure you can still survive it!

  • Great message, Dragos. The Laws of the Universe work impeccably… it is up to us to be open and get out of the way. We can never predict exactly how opportunities will manifest… we just have to trust that they will. If we are 100% committed in our heart-mind to being a great parent, businessman etc. etc. then we can trust that the Universe is ready to support us… now we have feel worthy of receiving.

  • Action, any kind of action is what makes things happening. Assessing and deciding on them is equally important, but it’s still, it doesn’t make things move along. And it’s ok to be stuck in the Assess or Decide as long as you don’t want your life to change. But then don’t complain it isn’t changing 😉

  • A real pleasure to read you Dragos. Agree with you 100 per cent. Any of the moments that really moved my life forward — little or big, sometimes apparently small, inconsequential at the time — all happened because I acted on the impulse of the moment. Give it over to your mind for careful evaluation and perhaps consideration by a wise committee and you’re done for and so is your life.

  • Inspiring!

    This is currently one area of my life I’m working on i.e it’s better to simply get the job done rather than wait for the ‘perfect opportunity’. My old self would have analysed the post in detail and this comment would have not been posted until it was perfect!

    Now, I realise that not everything needs to be perfect!

  • Dragos, this is a great article! Our society can be so obsessed with perfection that we miss out on so many great opportunities simply because we don’t want to accept less than perfection.

    I like to look at opportunities with the mindset of : good, better and best. It takes a lot of pressure off and gives me a new perspective. There is so much of life to be enjoyed, so much to be learned – and it can all be missed out on when the mind’s eye is focused on perfection. Which is an illusion to begin with…

  • Dragos,

    Great post, the part about being a dad particularly resonates with me, as someone with a six year old daughter and seperated from the mother too I know what this situation is like.

    Inspiring post, thank you.

  • I’ve read dozens of posts about how and what you can do to prepare yourself to the fullest in just about every aspect of your life, but I have never assumed, nor realized that we all see our final goals as masterpieces. So I believe you’re right and, also, intuitive in not restraining your post to one single role model.

  • Beautiful points.

    On my team, we’ve used a variation off a classic quote … don’t let the perfect get in the way of the “good enough for now.”

  • Hello Dragos,
    I am not a big lover of Nike, but I think their slogan ‘Just do it’ sums up how I try to live. Often doubts, uncertainties etc creep in, but I like to breathe deeply, go with my instinct and just get on with it. Of course this is a work in progress and I’m not like that all the time…..still at least I’m heading in the right direction and I am exactly as I sould be right now!

  • Dragos,
    I really enjoyed all your stories. Sometimes the best things in life are unscripted. I completely agree too, that we need to listen and follow our intuition! Intuition, is the “secret ingredient” to an outstanding life!

  • Thank you for a great post, Dragos! It´s very good to get reminded of taking the chance when it appears. So often we don´t do it and miss out of a lot of opportunities and fun. Usually the best chances and the greatest experiences comes when we catch the moment.

    I can also relate to the story about the birthday party with your daughter. Since I´m also separated from my daughters mother I´ve experineced that same feeling going to birthday parties. Especially when she was younger, she is now a teenager.

    • Hey Tom,

      You’re right about taking the chance when it appears. But also about the fact that we should enjoy what we have, rather then regretting what we cannot have. Especially related to our common position a single fathers :-)

  • Dragos,

    I loved your emphasis on intuition in this post and your encouragement to not hold back. I really appreciated the story of list of 100 blog post. It’s so true that sometimes it’s just a strange idea about whether we think we can do something or not that holds us back, when in fact we can just do it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hey Sandra,

      You picked the core of my message in one single word: intuition. Yeap, it’s this simple thing that can make us move forward, without caring too much of how perfect or not our lives are or will be after that.

  • Dragos, this is simply beautiful. Loved your stories and resonated with every one of them. The masterpiece might be unfinished. But it’s a masterpiece. That alone is enough to cherish and enjoy it.

  • Dragos, this is a brilliant post to come back to CYT with.

    I loved every aspect of this, the message, the stories and the personal insight you have shared with the readers to get the message of: ‘Just do it’ across.

    Your book: ‘Assess, Decide, Do’ reflects everything you are doing in life just now, and this post is no different.

    Thank you my friend.

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