Two artists, Ted Orland and David Waylon, relate the story of a ceramics teacher who found herself teaching a class on two separate days, neatly divided in half. She decided to try an A/B experiment. To the first half of the class she said what she’d been saying for years – “You’ll be graded based on the quality of your work. At the end of the semester, turn in the single best piece of pottery you created.” To the other half of the class, she said something very different. She explained to them that they would be graded purely on quantity – “Crank out as many pots as you can this semester.”
At the end of the term, she noticed that the best pots – both technically and artistically – didn’t come from the quality group, they came from the quantity group. By making pot after pot after pot, they were learning, and adapting. They didn’t set out to make the best pots, yet they did. Meanwhile, the other half spent the semester aiming for perfection and falling short.
We succeed by trying and failing, not by striving for perfection. Perhaps persistence isn’t so much sticking with something as it is persistently improving.
“What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece. – David Bayles & Ted Orland
Source and thanks to: Ken Norton’s essay – 10x, not 10%, Art & Fear by David Bayles, Ted Orland