The Iterations That Come Before the Success

The ceramics teacher announced on the first day of class, that he was dividing the class into two groups.
One half of the class would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, and the other half would be graded solely on the quality of their work.

On the final day of class the teacher would bring his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group: fifty pounds in weight of pots rated a Grade “A”, forty pounds a Grade “B”, and so on.

Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get a Grade “A”.

Come grading time 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 not very good pot.

Whether its business, art or sport, it’s not the quest to achieve one perfect goal that makes you better, it’s the skills you develop from doing a volume of work.

Focus on the repetitions that lead to your desired outcome. Focus on the iterations that come before the success. Focus on the hundreds of ceramic pots that come before the masterpiece.

In other words: Try. Fail. Learn, Repeat.

Don’t be afraid of making a load of rubbish. Be afraid of making nothing at all.
Ps. The ceramics story is taken from the book Art and Fear


A sign in a shoe repair store:
“We will heel you, we will save your sole, we will even dye for you!”

Sign over a Gynaecologist’s Office:
“Dr. George, at your cervix.”

At an Eye Clinic:
“If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”

In a Non-smoking Area:
“If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and will take appropriate action.”

On a Maternity Room door:
“Push. Push. Push.”

At a Car Dealership:
“The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.”

At the Electric Company:
“We would be delighted if you send in your payment on time.
However, if you don’t, YOU will be de-lighted.”

Sign on the back of Septic Tank Truck:
“Caution – This Truck is full of Political Promises.”

Live big & love deep.
Moving minds  Transforming performance

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