Get better at anything – David Bayles

This story is based on making art, but the principal can be used for any endeavour you want to get better at.

A pottery class was split into two groups. One was instructed to make as many pots as possible, and that they would be marked just on how many pots they produced.

The other group was told it would be marked on the quality of a single pot.

At the end of term, the students were marked, and they were invited to showcase their work, for a chance for a special award.

Nearly all the awards went to pots made by the quantity group. Without the pressure of being marked on quality they could focus on the process of making hundreds of pots. Through this they gained so much more insight into their craft than the quality group who, instead of learning through doing, spent more of their time thinking about how to make the best pot.

The take-away here is that if you keep doing the thing, without worrying about the quality, you will keep learning.

This could be a creative endeavour, writing, art, music, but it works in all fields, technical and interpersonal. Coding, Crosswords, Public Speaking, anything. If you keep doing it, without fear of judgement then you will improve.

Build into your routine a chance to practice your craft, it can be 5 minutes a day, an hour a week, whatever works. As long as it’s regular and without worrying about quality. Do, Repeat, Improve.

This story was taken from Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

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