The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.

The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
  • Why does it happen?
  • How it affects me.
  • How I rise above it.

My wife recently wrote about a topic on her blog that I feel strongly about. She discusses how perfection kills creativity. Her and I are very similar in that we always try to do our very best at work or learning something new.

Why does it happen?

This happens to me because I always want to do my best so if a mistake occurs that I feel I should have caught, I can be my harshest critic. If I get too focused and not take enough breaks, my code could have a slight mistake like maybe I’ve introduced a null pointer by doing


instead where I should be doing


If some_method ever returns null, it can’t call equalsIgnoreCase.

Tyrell Eldon from Blade Runner had a quote of “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long”. He meant it in regards to Roy Batty’s life and that he has done exceptional things, and that he should revel in that with his short life span.

The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. - Eldon Tyrell: Blade Runner. Not a wise thing to say to an angry replicant.

In this case, burning too bright means the candle will quickly extinguish itself. I take that quote for myself as life is short so you should enjoy it while you can.

How it affects me.

I have gotten stressed at making little mistakes. As I’m a father of a young girl, I don’t always get enough sleep or I might have to stop what I’m doing to feed or change her.

How I rise above it.

What I’ve learned to do to combat perfectionism, is to make quick small changes where I’m building upon my understanding. With work, it might be me going over some documentation again or double checking that the code’s edge cases are all met. If I’m done with work and my daughter is asleep, it might be me spending an hour on pixel art or Godot. If I’m feeling great when the hour is up , I will continue, but if I’m starting to feel tired, I will take a break or stop. I am then happy with the progress that I’ve made. I also try to go for walks with my family, write, do game dev, or listen to Jazz to relax.


Sometimes you have to allow yourself to make mistakes, to understand that no one is perfect, and that it can be good to push oneself, but within reason. Pushing too hard can cause stress, anxiety, and depression.

Special thanks to my wife for inspiring this post.

Here’s a link to Elsa’s post about how perfectionism kills your creativity if you’d like to read it yourself.