• Eve Arnold

Practice Over Perfection

Practice over perfection.

If you want to get good at anything you have to practice it. In the world we live in today I think sometimes being part of generation Z/Y makes us forget that. Everything we have around us is instant — instant messaging, instant feedback on posts or pictures, everything is a click away… apart from things that take time to get good at.

The Plan

Instead we spend our time thinking and planning, hypothesis about perfection. We spend days thinking about the best way to approach a situation, or curate a presentation, we also spend countless hours to try and articulate a perfectly worded email or a wonderfully seamless phone call. The reality is, we can’t plan our way out of reality. There comes a point where you just have to do it.

A Study – Perfection

Interestingly I’d read recently about a study. It’s September and all the students are just about to start their pottery class. The class is thirty strong and everyone sits down raring to go. The teacher walks in and says “right guys, we’re going to split you into groups of fifteen” he mentions splitting the class and the student segregate to separate sides of the room. “Excellent, so what I want to do is give you your first assignment” eyes start to roll.

“The guys on my left you are going to my quality group, in two weeks time I am going to ask you to present to me your best, individual, pottery creation. You have to spend your time understanding how to get to the best quality in fourteen days. You will be graded solely on the quality of your pot.” The class nods half with intrigue and scepticism.

“Right, and you guys on my right, you are all about quantity. I don’t care about the quality, I will come in on day fourteen and weigh all your pots. If you can achieve fifty pounds worth of pots between you then you will be awarded an A.

Group left give me quality, group right give me quantity.” Two weeks later the teacher returns and a curious thing happened, the group on his left produced one pot of decent quality. However, the group on the right produced fifty pounds of increasingly better quality pots. The pots produced on day twelve and thirteen were in fact far superior quality than the one pot presented by the left group.

The moral?

Quantity leads to quality. Theorising about perfection was a quick way to not get there.

So, send the email that’s half-baked, have the phone call that you are not ready for and present your presentation you’ve been mulling over without fear. One thing you can be sure of is, the fastest way to learn and grow is to do, do and do some more. Showing up is better than not because you are scared it’s not 100%.

Originally published at https://www.careerhealth.info on February 22, 2020.

#Practice #HabitBuilding #Perfectionism #SelfImprovement #Habits

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