Derek Sivers

Entrepreneur, programmer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Does quantity + learning = quality?

I've challenged myself to write something of value every day on my blog, now.

It was inspired by Seth Godin, but also by this excerpt from the book Art and Fear:

The ceramics teacher announced he was dividing his class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right graded solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would weigh the work of the “quantity” group: 50 pounds of pots rated an A, 40 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, come 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.

Is there something in your life that you're trying to perfect?

Have you tried a quantity approach instead?

(Just make sure to learn from your mistakes.)

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