Do you have anything in particular that you do every day?
“Oh yeah, I eat every day.” … isn’t what I was thinking, you know. ha.
I mean something worthwhile to talk about beyond mundane activities or primal needs!
Skills or knowledge you work your socks off to master.
The thing you’re so obsessed that you lose track of the time when you engage in it.
You’re so passionate that it’s hard not to do it every day.
You get the idea.
You might be tentatively exploring options of what that could be.
You may be already working on them, tweaking and tinkering without completing until you feel ready to produce “perfect” work.
Your perfectionist tendency is getting in your way. Coupled with it is your self-doubt that comes with learning and mastering a new skill.
If you find yourself in that situation, read on and find out how quantity can triumph over quality.
Quantity Over Quality
Below is a famous anecdote from Art & Fear by Bayles and Orland during the ceramics class.
It’s a great lesson for everyone whose perfectionism is stalling them from making progress.
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.
All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class, he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A,” forty pounds a “B,” and so on.
Those being graded on “quality,” however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a perfect one—to get an “A.”
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.
It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Let me highlight the key message for our benefit:
The works of the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.
Do It A Lot
The above illustrates that the more we do, the higher chance we have to produce quality work.
Through repeated trials and errors, we sharpen our skill and master it.
Each practice may be flawed.
But the more we practise, the closer we get to perfection.
The only way we acquire skill and knowledge and master it is by doing it every day instead of doing when we feel like it or waiting until we become “perfect”.
“Do It A Lot” reminds me of Will Smith’s interviews where he talks about his insane work ethic.
If you love what you do but have doubted whether you have a talent for it, you might also find the below super motivating.
I’ve never viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping, I’m working. While the guy’s eating, I’m working.
– Will Smith
Don’t you just love his “ridiculous, sickening work ethic” attitude?
I’ll not be outworked. You might have more talent than me. You might be smarter than me. You might be sexier than me. But we get on a treadmill together … you’re getting it off first or I’m gonna die.
– Will Smith
In Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World, the now-retired Admiral William H. McRaven also talks about:
… outwork, outhustle, and outperform…
I sometimes fell short of being the best, but I never fell short of giving it my best.
The level of determination shines through those words.
So, whatever your obsession is, DO IT A LOT – write every day, play every day, sleep well every day, eat healthy every day, exercise every day…
The list is endless.
Given that our life is a collection of what we do every day, it’s worthwhile to decide a couple of things that matter most to you and just “do it a lot”.
And see where your ‘crazy’ Will-Smith-like attitude will take you.
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