I have this debate with myself all the time, and I’m guessing you probably do too.
Should I think and plan and research until I find perfection? Quality.
Or should I just get started and plan on needing a few tries? Quantity.
I’ve decided that the debate is over. I agree with Gilbert Chesterton, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”
Does this mean that quality doesn’t matter? Not at all.
It just doesn’t matter – at first.
When learning something new, failure is inevitable. Trying to avoid it is inherently avoiding the learning itself.
Focusing on quality at the start is simply a delay. It is an excuse. It is succumbing to fear.
Read this excerpt from Art & Fear on Derek Sivers’ blog:
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.
Grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay. I’ve got a few of those laying around.
Business ideas. Book outlines. Physical goals. All stuck in theory-land, waiting on the perfect storm of opportunity that will never come.
Here’s my new mantra: Churn.
Churn out blog posts with new material. Churn out bicycle rides, complete with falls and scrapes. Churn through businesses ideas, learning on the cheap until it clicks.
How about you? What can you churn out?