In our last +1, we talked about the power of recommitting. You make a big commitment, then you fall a little off track. No big deal, REcommit and continue on.
Today, we’re going to add a little letter to recommitment.
It’s a “P.” We’ll drop it in right at the beginning.
Giving us: PREcommitment.
So, now we have: Precommitment. Commitment. And Recommitment.
Science says precommitment is one of the most powerful tools in the Willpower tool chest. They even give precommitments a pretty cool name: Odysseus Contracts.
Before we jump into ancient mythology and see what it has to say about modern science, let’s remember: Will power exemplars play OFFENSE not DEFENSE (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/want-willpower-play-offense-not-defense/). They use their finite willpower wisely to install habits that run on autopilot—avoiding the temptations that drain our willpower as we try to resist them. Offense. Not defense.
One of the most powerful ways to do that? Decide in ADVANCE how we will handle a challenging situation. PRECOMMIT ourselves to the best possible action.
So, back to mythology.
What did Odysessus do when he and his sailors needed to get by the Sirens without crashing into the rocks?
He precommitted himself to a course of action.
By tying himself to his mast and commanding his sailors not to untie him regardless of how much he begged them to do so.
THAT’s precommitment. He chose to do something that locked himself into a virtuous course of action when he knew he’d be challenged.
His sailors precommitted as well. Rather than tie themselves to the boat, they took an even smarter path and avoided the temptation in the first place by plugging their ears with beeswax. They didn’t even hear the tempting sounds of the Sirens. Voila! Safe passage through that dangerous path.
Again, THAT’s precommitment.
Someone struggling with alcohol, for example, would be much wiser to never go into a bar than to try to not drink once they’re in there. Someone looking to Optimize their energy would be much wiser to not even walk down the fake food aisles at the grocery store than to buy the sugar and refined flour toxic goop and then try to resist eating it once it’s in their pantry.
Back to you and Today’s +1:
What Odysseus Contracts do YOU need to make with yourself?
Ready to upgrade your vision of love? Then you’re in for a treat with this fantastic book by Barbara Fredrickson. Barbara is one of the world’s leading positive psychologists. The book is incredibly well-written, deeply inspiring and incredibly practical as well. In fact, I just told Alexandra that this book might be the one that most positively impacts my life. Big Ideas we explore include: Love 1.0 vs. Love 2.0, taking a trip to Vagus, identifying our prevailing desire, #1 tip: create 3 loving moments today, exiting our cocoon of self-absorption via loving-kindness meditation, and Love 2.0 x 2: compassionate + celebratory love.
In our last +1 we hopped on a treadmill with Will Smith and Smokeybot.
Today, let’s hop on a treadmill with well-being researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky.
Sonja is one of the world’s leading experts on the science of what is called “hedonic adaptation.”
Basically, hedonic adaptation is a fancy phrase for our tendency to get used to good things. The way we so easily adapt to awesome stuff is kinda like being on a treadmill. You get fired up about making $x per year or having a certain car or house or whatever then you get to that point and quickly adapt to it—now wanting the NEXT $X per year or house or car or whatever.
Then guess what?
There you are on your treadmill, working harder and harder and not going anywhere.
That’s hedonic adaptation.
On a related note, Maslow told us that getting used to our blessings is one of the most “nonevil evils” out there. It’s not an obvious evil-evil but it’s an evil thing nonetheless.
So, how do we deal with this tendency to so quickly adapt and take things for granted as we sweat and get nowhere on that happiness treadmill?
Well, first, know that this tendency exists. Know that nothing “out there” is E V E R going to make you happy. Ultimately, creating a durable sense of well-being is an inside job.
Today’s +1: Let’s step off the treadmill.
Another thing Maslow taught us is that the most actualized among us have “fresh appreciation” for the things others tend to take for granted.
Let’s appreciate the amazing things you have in your life.
How about three things/people that are awesome in your life right now? (That you might be taking for granted!)
Practice gratitude (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/gratitude/).Grateful flow (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/grateful-flow/). Celebratory love. etc. Regularly.
Step off the treadmill. Appreciate the awesome.(https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/celebratory-love/)
+1. +1. +1.
Continuing our movement-is-good for you theme, let’s talk about how Michelle Segar looks at this.
You may recall that Michelle is one of the world’s leading researchers on the science of actually DOING the things you know are good for you.
In her book No Sweat she tells us that we need to find “opportunities to move” throughout the day. Her clients like to shorten that to OTMs.
Opportunities to Move.
Little things. They exist all day, every day. And, if we want to make our TRILLIONS (!) of cells happy so we can shine with a deeper level of radiant, energized enthusiasm, we’d be wise to look for more OTMs throughout our day.
So mundane, unsexy and seemingly unimportant that we can easily overlook them.
You know, like parking as far away from the store (or gym or whatever) as possible so you get a few more steps in. Or, even better, just walking to the store and leaving your car at home.
Or, once you’re in the store, using a hand-held shopping basket rather than a cart. Tiny little opportunities to move more = good.
If you really want to go all in and be like one of the 100 Fittest People of All Time like Dean Karnazes, you can go from finding Opportunities to MOVE all day to basically working out all day every day.
In our interview, The Ultramarathon Man Dean told me that’s how he likes to roll. Apparently, right before our chat he banged out a quick (12- or 14-min) high intensity interval training workout. And, he planned to do another mini-workout right after our chat. Simple sequence of burpees, pull-ups and sit-ups.
All day. Every day.
That focus on moving his body has allowed him to do the seemingly impossible like run 350 miles at once and run 50 marathons in 50 US states in 50 days. (Wow.)
So, Today’s +1:
Whether you’re looking for Opportunities to Move (OTMs!!) or Opportunities to Workout (OTWs!!), let’s move a little more today.
And the day after that…
+1. +1. +1.
A former U.S. Navy SEAL Commander, Mark Divine integrates the ancient warrior traditions with grounded, practical virtue and 21st century get-it-done effectiveness in a way that I find incredibly inspiring. Big Ideas we cover include the power of front-sight focus, how to DIRECT your mind, going Yoda on your commitments and creating micro goals when things are tough.
Men’s Health says that Dean Karnazes is one of the 100 Fittest Men of ALL Time.
He’s done crazy things—like running 350 miles at once. Plus running a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. Then there was the time he ran 50 marathons in all 50 US states in 50 days—finishing with the NYC Marathon which he banged out in 3 hours flat. (Nice!)
In our interview about his great book The Road to Sparta, I asked him what ONE piece of wisdom he would share with someone looking to Optimize their lives so they could make a positive difference in the world.
He quoted the ancient Chinese proverb: “Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of stopping.”
Not a problem.
Eek. That’s when we get in trouble.
Whether it’s writing a book or running a marathon or doing whatever challenging thing worthy of our attention, KEEP GOING!!!
Steve Chandler has a great line for this. He says we need to “Stop stopping.”
All of which leads us to today’s +1 Questions:
What epic quest are you on right now? What’s your next baby step?
Keep moving!! No matter how slowly.
What’s the habit you just KNOW would most benefit you? That keystone habit that, when in place, will most help you Optimize? The one that, when you do it, you feel GREAT!! Yes. THAT ONE.
KEEP DOING IT!!!
It’s OK to suck. But it’s not OK to skip. (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/how-to-avoid-habit-suicide/)
Remember: STOP STOPPING!
+1. +1. +1.
Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading teachers of the Buteyko Breathing Method which was created in the 1950s by a Russian doctor named Dr. Konstantin Buteyko. McKeown suffered from asthma for decades until he found the Buteyko Method. At which point, he reversed his asthma symptoms and then dedicated his life to helping others optimize their breathing. In this book, he extends the Buteyko Method into an approach he calls the Oxygen Advantage. Big Ideas we cover include the #1 obstacle to optimal breathing, Oxygen Delivery 101, the #1 breathing tip, and how to dial in your sleep.
In our last +1 we chatted about the difference between FALLING in love and STANDING in love.
It’s easy to fall in love. It’s considerably more challenging to stand in love—whether we’re talking about an intimate relationship with a significant other, a child or a dear friend.
So, know this: We’re inevitably going to run into conflict and challenges in our intimate relationships.
Today’s +1 is a key practice for STANDING in love.
Leading mindfulness and neuroscience and relationship expert Dan Siegel tells us that when something inevitably goes wrong in a relationship we want to REPAIR it as quickly as we can.
One of the examples he uses to make his point is a story about a time when he, Mr. Mindfulness, “flipped his lid,” turning off his prefrontal cortex and going full limbic-lame yelling at one of his kids.
(Laughing as I type that as a) It’s always refreshing to see a world-class teacher and practitioner humbly reminding us that no one is perfect and b) I very much know the feeling as the father of a very energetic 4-year-old. 😃)
So, we have an interaction that we’re not proud of.
Then, you REPAIR the relationship as quickly as you can.
Something like, “Wow. I got really impatient / loud / fill-in-the-blank. I flipped my lid! I’m so sorry about that and I can see what Needs work (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/needs-work/). I just want you to know I’m sorry and that I love you and that I’m committed to getting a little better at handling those challenging moments in the future.”
* insert potential hug *
We don’t want those little micro-moments of negativity to stew into jumbo-resentments and unhealthy cauldrons of ick.
Take a deep breath. Drop into your heart. Label the emotion Name It to Tame It! (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/name-it-to-tame-it/). Practice some Active Love (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/active-love/). Use whatever tool you need to do to regain your Equanimity (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/the-equanimity-game/).
And then Repair.
Today’s +1 Optimizing opportunity: Any Repairs waiting for you?
In our last +1, we talked about the importance of identifying and installing your #1 self-care habit.
Today I want to talk about another SUPER important thing: Identifying your significant other’s (or kids’ or friends’ or colleagues’) #1 self-care habit.
Fact is, great relationships are only created by two healthy people.
1 + 1.
If you want to Optimize the love in your life, you’d be wise to a) start by Optimizing yourself and b) support your partner (assuming they want the support!) Optimize THEIR lives.
And our #1 self-care habit is a REALLY (like, Jumbo-REALLY!!!!) good place to start.
For example, my #1 is sleep. Alexandra knows this. And, she knows that she doesn’t really want to be around me when I’m not meeting this fundamental need. So, we prioritize this to make sure I’m getting good sleep. (Thank you, Darling!!)
Alexandra’s #1 self-care habit is time alone every day to meditate/reflect/create/etc. Knowing this, we prioritize it to make sure she gets that time.
What’s YOUR #1.
What’s your PARTNER’S #1?
Find out. Help them rock it.
And watch your relationship flourish.
+1 that 1 + 1.
Dr. Craig Malkin is an author, clinical psychologist, and Instructor of Psychology for Harvard Medical School. He’s also one of the world’s leading authorities on the science of narcissism. In this book, he shares “The bad—and surprising good—about feeling special.” The short story? Narcissism is a lot more nuanced than we might have been led to believe. Big Ideas we explore: the Myth of Narcissus, the Spectrum of Narcissism, healthy narcissism (no, that isn’t an oxymoron), how to bring it forth in our lives, and the passionate life (passion + compassion = magic!).
In our last +1, we talked about Scott Adams’s wisdom on Wishing vs. Deciding (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/deciding-vs-wishing/).
The key difference? When we DECIDE, we get clear on what we want AND we get clear on the price we’ll need to pay. Then… We get busy paying it.
Scott tells us that one of the ways to reduce the price and make it more palatable is to create systems.
He’s ALL about systems. In fact, he tells us that “Goals are for losers.” (Hah.)
We obviously need goals but he says we should, at the very least, word-glue them together so we have goals-systems or systems-goals.
His point is that if all we’re doing is chasing a goal, we’re constantly going to be “losing” because the goal is always at some far-off spot we may never reach.
On the other hand, when we figure out the SYSTEMS we’re constantly WINNING every single time we successfully execute the system.
For example, if you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, you have a goal. Eating right is a system. Trying to run a 4-hour marathon is a goal. Exercising every day is a system.
As Scott says: “A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.”
Leadership guru John Maxwell has a GREAT way to describe systems as well. He says that systems are good strategies repeated.
What are YOUR goals?
And, more importantly, what are your SYSTEMS that will get you there?
Here’s to Optimizing your systems-driven, perpetual-small-wins-creating machine!!
Harvey Dorfman was one of the world’s leading mental training experts. Major League Baseball described him as a “pioneering sports psychologist.” He earned World Series rings as the mental skills coach for both the Oakland A’s and Florida Marlins. In this book, he covers the A to Z of mental discipline. Big Ideas we explore include Carpe momentum (seize the task at hand!), the peak performance cycle (approach + results + response), the blind men (and their elephant), and Percussus Resurgo (“Struck down. I rise again!”).
In our last +1 we talked about the magic of creating a hoped-for future vision that has super-strong "Pull Power."
Today we're going to talk about Pull Power's best friend, Pulling Power.
Step 1. Create a vision for your future that truly fires you up. Got it? Great. Pull Power in place.
Step 2. Now, imagine that future sitting there in a bag on the ground about 25 feet in front of you. That bag weighs a lot. It's tied to a rope that's right down by your feet.
Step 3. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sit down on the ground of your current reality, dig your heels in and PULL that bag of future awesome all the way to where you are.
That's Pulling Power.
It's what you do with the Pull Power.
Steve Chandler captures this brilliantly in Wealth Warrior where he tells us: “The only good use of any future is artistic. You paint a picture of your positive imaginary future on your whiteboard. Then you PULL THAT PICTURE—WITH EVERY OUNCE OF STRENGTH YOU HAVE—into the present moment.”
Can you see that future in front of you?
Ready to pull it into your reality?
Sit down. Rub your hands together.
And PULL with everything you've got.
Irresistible. That’s the perfect word to describe the growing array of addictive technologies that are capturing so much of our attention these days. And, it’s the perfect name for the book. Adam Alter is an associate professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business. This is a great book on, as the sub-title suggests, “The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.” Big Ideas we explore include the fact Steve Jobs didn’t let his own kids use an iPad (why?), why addiction is about more than just personality (and what matters), how to add 11 years back to your life, what happens when your brain gets pickled and the simple question you can ask to Optimize.
Get this: Scientists can bring people into a lab and have them hold a pen in their mouths in one of two different ways to elicit two very different outcomes.
One group comes in and holds a pen between their lips. The other group holds the pen between their teeth. (Try it to feel the difference!)
The group that holds the pen between their teeth (which, you may notice, creates a sort of smile) are HAPPIER at the end of the experiment than people who hold the pen between their lips (which, you may notice, creates a sort-of frown).
How could something THAT simple lead to a significant change in well-being?
Well, as we’ve discussed many times, FEELINGS follow BEHAVIORS. And, even something as mundane as unknowingly moving your happiness muscles into the shape of a smile can make you feel better.
Moral of the story: Work today with a pen between your teeth!
Hah. Not really.
But, DO remember that feelings follow behavior. The little things you do matter. Stand up tall. Act the way you’d act if you were feeling great even if you’re not feeling great. And, shockingly, you’ll find that your feelings follow that behavior more than you may initially believe.
And… Smile more today.
It’s kinda weird to feel how quickly your whole mood can soften and elevate when you shift from a serious (or negative) facial expression to a simple, soft smile. (Try it right now!)
+1 Smile. +1 Smile. +1 Smile.
(I’m smiling as I type that.)
We’re on a roll with the whole “embrace challenges on your epic quest!” theme so how about one more +1 on the subject?
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book called David and Goliath in which he walks us through some fascinating stories that demonstrate the fact that sometimes what we perceive to be our greatest weaknesses can actually be turned into our greatest strengths.
Scientists call these “desirable difficulties.”
Imagine that, difficulties that are desirable.
Well, how about a girl’s basketball team packed with kids with no experience playing basketball and, therefore, no traditional talent. Oh, and the head coach knows nothing about basketball. That’s a weakness right?
Sure, but what if they turned that weakness into an asset? That’s what one team Gladwell features did. They decided to break all the rules and simply HUSTLE more than anyone else by running a full-court press all game. (Hah.) Which worked. It so disoriented their competitors who were used to people playing by traditional approaches that they won. A lot.
Personally, I used to wish I grew up in a happy, stable, affluent, well-educated family with a silver spoon in my mouth and optimal DNA in every cell.
(Laughing but I *still* wish that was the case at times! 😃)
And... Now, I can see that growing up in a lower-middle class, blue collar, super-conservative Catholic family struggling to pay the bills with a father who struggled with alcohol (and whose father struggled with alcohol and killed himself) was, ultimately, a huge blessing.
The resulting challenges that I experience(d) and have overcome/continue to overcome in my own journey ARE THE PRIMARY REASONS I CAN NOW DO WHAT I DO.
Thanks to the wonderful cocktail of my compromised Nature AND Nurture, I was forced to develop a set of skills that I otherwise never would have been forced to create. I also have a deep sense of compassion for the inherent challenges of battling demons along with wisdom on how to overcome them that I can integrate into my work to serve even more profoundly.
Like that girl’s basketball team, I compensated by running full-court presses on my fundamentals (eat + move + sleep + breathe + focus!) ALL.THE.TIME. (Hah.)
+1 for today: How about YOU?
Can you create an even more compelling, coherent narrative about YOUR life and how your
difficulties have proven to be desirable?
Let’s do that.
Atul Gawande is a surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He’s also an extraordinary, best-selling author of a number of books. Short story: Want to get things right? Use a checklist. Sounds too silly to work but… It does. Period. Big Ideas we explore include two reasons we err (ignorance + ineptitude), what to do about it (checklists!), how to reduce your Masterpiece Day mortality rate by at least 47% (checklists!), why Van Halen doesn’t like brown M&M’s (checklists!), and your Big 3 Keystone Initiative (checklist!).
What do you think is the most important, underappreciated muscle in your body?
Think about that for a moment.
What’s your guess?
I think this is the most underappreciated muscle in my body: ___________________________.
Well, get this: Breathing experts tell us that the award for the most underappreciated muscle in the human body goes to… your diaphragm—that little, SUPER (!) important muscle down there right below your lungs.
Recall: You can live for weeks without food, days without water, and only minutes without oxygen—which makes breathing pretty important, eh?
Yet, how often do you think about it?
And, do you specifically train your breathing to make sure it’s optimized?
If you’re like most people, the answer to the above questions is: “Never.” And, “No.”
Today’s +1: Let’s hit the diaphragm gym.
The simplest way to practice some “resistance” breathing? Breathe through your nose. All the time. Period. If you’re a mouth breather you’ll notice that breathing through your nose takes a little more work. That’s a good thing.
Through your nose. Deep but light. Nice and slow.
One rep after another.
Let’s get that diaphragm in shape!!
Teresa Amabile is the Director of Research at Harvard Business School. It’s pretty much impossible to read a book on business, creativity, or happiness at work and not run into her research. She wrote this book with her husband, leading developmental psychologist Steven Kramer. In it, we learn the secret of joy, engagement and creativity at work. Hint: Small wins! On (important distinction) meaningful stuff. Big Ideas we explore include the power of our “inner work life,” the 3 key influences to optimizing it (progress, catalysts, nourishers) and how to get on the progress loop and stay on it!
First: Welcome to our 100th +1. It’s a special milestone. Kinda excited about it. 😃
Let’s celebrate it with one of my favorite words ever: euthymia.
Seneca talks about the power of euthymia in his classic essays. He tells us that euthymia is all about knowing yourself and having the courage to walk your own authentic path.
The English translation of that beautiful word?
It’s the feeling we have when we truly TRUST ourselves. When we know we’re headed in the right direction and we’re able to quit comparing ourselves to everyone else and stop second guessing ourselves every 5 seconds.
Which leads us to today’s +1 reflection:
How’s YOUR tranquility?
Here’s one way to energize it.
In Ego Is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday riffs on Seneca’s perspective on euthymia and tells us: “So why do you do what you do? That’s the question you need to answer. Stare at it until you can. Only then will you understand what matters and what doesn’t. Only then can you say no, can you opt out of stupid races that don’t matter, or even exist. Only then is it easy to ignore ‘successful’ people, because most of the time they aren’t—at least relative to you, and often even to themselves. Only then can you develop that quiet confidence Seneca talked about.”
Why do YOU do what you do?
That’s the question. Stare at it. Answer it. Say yes to your path. And say no to all the other silly distractions.
+1 all the way to energized tranquility.
Peter Drucker is considered the father of modern management. This book was originally published in 1967. It’s *remarkably* well written and lucid. And, of course, packed with Big Ideas on how to optimize our effectiveness. We cover the 5 key practices/habits of the effective executive: time (first things first; second things never!), contribution (what can you contribute?), strengths (make yours productive; make weaknesses irrelevant), concentration (the secret to effectiveness), decisions (boundary conditions help).
In our last few +1s, we’ve been chatting about reaching the Peak of our potential.
What’s the alternative?
Well, did you know that the Latin root of the word mediocre LITERALLY means to get stuck in the middle of a rugged mountain?
Medius = “middle.”
Ocris = “rugged mountain.”
That’s not where we want to get stuck. 😃
How do we make it through that mid-way point and summit the peak of our potential?
Let’s open up our Thesaurus for some clues.
We’ll start with synonyms for mediocre: “ordinary, average, middling, middle-of-the-road, uninspired, undistinguished, indifferent, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian, prosaic, lackluster, forgettable, amateur, amateurish.”
Those are all great ways to get stuck.
There’s one antonym for mediocre. Can you guess what it is?
Yep. That’s the ticket. EXCELLENCE. When we hit those inevitable tough spots on the rugged mountain that is our heroic quest, we need to show up with excellence. We need to do our best.
You may recall the Greeks had a word for that.
It’s the best way to high five your inner daimon as you joyfully summit. (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/how-to-high-five-your-inner-daimon/)
Let’s do that.
One step at a time. Right up to the peak of that rugged mountain.
+1. +1. +1.
For those of you in the States celebrating today, Happy Independence Day. For everyone else around the world, Happy 4th of July! 😃
The 4th of July.
Of course, today we’re celebrating Independence Day.
But it’s important to note that we’re not celebrating the day we *won* our independence.
We’re celebrating the day we DECLARED our independence.
Of course, there was SEVEN YEAR’S worth of blood, sweat, and tears that went into the Revolutionary War to back up that declaration (!!), but that’s a pretty cool distinction when you think about it for a moment.
So, Today’s +1.
First, let’s celebrate all the little Independence Days of our lives. Those moments when we declared our Independence from the bad habits that were tyrannizing our lives.
With that in mind: What are three bad habits from which you’ve won your independence?
Fantastic. High fives. Fireworks!
Now, it’s time to make a new Declaration of Independence.
From which keystone bad habit will you Declare your Independence from this day forward?
I think the preamble to your Declaration goes something like this:
“When in the Course of an individual’s life it becomes necessary for that person to dissolve the bands which have connected them with bad habits and to assume among the powers of the earth, the self-mastery and virtue to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the scientific wisdom of the ages requires that they should WOOP their plans to win their Revolutionary War within themselves.
As such, I [ INSERT NAME ], hereby declare my Independence from THIS bad habit: _____________________________.
I hereby WOOP the successful Revolutionary War against said habit.
This is my Wish: _____________________________
This is my Outcome; I shall experience these Benefits: _____________________________
These are my Obstacles: _____________________________
This is my Plan to deal with those Obstacles: _________________________.”
Enter: A powerful “necessity to act.”
Here’s to winning that Revolutionary War and honoring your Declaration of Independence!
I planned to read this book since Cal Newport referenced it in Deep Work. I finally did so in preparation to teach Productivity 101. It’s fantastic. If you’re a business leader or entrepreneur I think you’ll particularly enjoy it. Big Ideas we cover include the 4DX, the whirlwind, your Wildly Important Goals, Lag vs. Lead measures, the power of keeping score, and avoiding the blackhole of the magnificently trivial.
Imagine this: It’s your first day of art class. You signed up for an intro class on pottery. (Nice! Go you!)
The teacher does something a little weird.
He points to one half of the class and says, “On the last day of class I’m going to bring in a bathroom scale. You guys will get an ‘A’ if you produce 50 pounds of pots. A ‘B’ for 40 pounds. 30 pounds gets you a ‘C.’”
Then he points to the other half of the class and says, “You guys? You’ll get an ‘A’ for creating an amazing pot. I just need one pot from you. Make it awesome and you get the ‘A.’”
Fast-forward to the end of the semester and who do you think created the best-looking pots?
Answer: The group that produced the 50 pounds of stuff to get an “A.”
Why is that?
Well, as the authors of Art & Fear put it: “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.”
So, question: How do YOU approach your creativity?
Are you trying to create the “perfect pot”? Or, are you willing to lean in and produce a TON of stuff—learning from your mistakes and, eventually, getting better and better?
Today’s +1: Go create a bunch of pots.
Remember: 50 pounds and you’ll get an “A.”
P.S. Maslow comes to mind. He tells us: “It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.”