A college ceramics teacher decided to do an experiment with his two fall pottery classes. He told one class they would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced that quarter and their grade depended on the number of pots they threw — so the more the better! The second class was told their grade would be determined by the quality of their work and they only needed to produce one “perfect” pot.
The result? The better quality pieces came from the class that was graded on quantity. As they were making all those pots, they were getting better and better at pot-making.
It’s almost as if our brains can’t help but get better at something, even if we’re not trying hard to improve. The key is doing – it’s more useful to do something than it is to evaluate or analyze (at least for a beginner – things might be different when you’re pushing the limits of your craft).
If you want to get good at photography, take a ton of pictures. If you want to be a decent actor, try out for as many plays as you can. If you want to be a good computer programmer, write a lot of code.
Gus is interested in racing and seems to have a knack for it, so what he needs now is seat time – 10,000 laps will teach him more than Mario Andretti could at this point in his life.
When in doubt – throw more pots, and let your brain work its magic.
That’s why I’ve been writing more lately. On my birthday, I reflected on the rest of my career and what I wanted to do with it. Every option involved writing. I have a great opportunity at Moraware, and almost every way I can help the company involves writing. It’s clear – I need to write more.
So I’m practicing – I’m writing (and publishing) at least 250 words each work day (that’s about one typed page). My goal is to get to the point where I can write 250 words in 15-30 minutes without much effort. This counts.