Perfection Paralysis

Is it better to spend a lot of time creating a single thing perfectly or to spend the same time producing many things imperfectly?

I read or listened to a story, can’t remember where (I’ll update the post if I do) about a photography teacher that carried out an experiment on his students. He asked one half of the class to spend the semester creating one amazing picture. He asked the other half of the class to take as many pictures as they liked. The result? The half that took as many pictures as they liked ended up not only taking more photographs, but taking much better photographs than the half that only took one “perfect” photograph.

The process of producing, failing, learning and producing again was much more effective than trying to get everything just right before they produced anything. They learned quicker, but more importantly they improved at a faster rate and had a more substantial portfolio at the end.

Before I started writing this post, one part of me wanted to plan it fully and get everything write (classic) before publishing. I believe I’ll improve more by publishing more, which means I shouldn’t get too hung up on making it perfect.

I’m not saying you have to produce any old rubbish. Still make an effort to create good work. Just notice when that voice in your head tells you that it’s not good enough yet. Get it finished and move on to the next one. Make it a little better than the one before, but not perfect. Realise that your best work is in front of you.

Take more photographs, try more marketing campaigns, give more talks. Do more of what you do.

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