Feb 17, 2015

Itrate. Itarate. Iterate.

Austin Walker

Austin Walker

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Most people want to be proud of what they produce.

Sometimes we want our work to be perfect. We tell ourselves that perfection is right around the corner, and it’ll only take a few more minor adjustments to get there.

Actually, perfection is a bold faced liar.

Consider the following story:

A college ceramics professor once conducted an experiment amongst her students. She split the class in half and assigned each group a separate task to complete over the duration of the semester.

The first half of the class was to be graded based on the number of pots they could create throughout the semester. The more pots they made, the higher their final grades would be. The students from this group immediately began churning out pots as quickly as they could make them.

In contrast, the second half of the class was told that their grades depended on the quality of a single pot; it needed to be their best possible work. Each of these students tirelessly worked to create the perfect pot to submit for grading.

At the end of the semester, the professor asked the students from the first half of the class to present the last pot they created, while the second half turned in their single pot. Outside artists were then commissioned to critique the quality of the students’ work and overwhelmingly declared that the craftsmanship of the pots from the first half of the class was far superior to those of the second half.

Sometimes when we try to reach perfection or try to seem like we’ve reached perfection, we actually produce an inferior product. Don’t buy into the lie that your work has to be perfect before you show it to others.

If we come clean, get naked, and get feedback on a consistent basis, we’re able to more quickly learn what’s going to actually move us forward and toward the end goal.

The ceramics story is floating around in one form or another across blogs, books and even YouTube.  This version came from Kyle Fiedler’s blog.  If you know the original author, please let us know in the comments.

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