Monday, June 6, 2016

Quantity makes better Quality

Quantity makes better Quality 

       John Maxwell gave an illustration about a professor in a pottery class deciding to split his class into two groups. One would get graded on the amount of work they did, by weight, and the other would be judged on quality, they only had to submit one perfect vase. At the end of the term, the best vases were done not by the quality people but by the quantity people. 

        This illustration seems to reinforce the idea that practice makes perfect. Yet we all know teams that practice a lot but never get any better. So what is the deal? How could these students do better? I believe the answer is that though they were graded on quantity, they were still required to attend classes. In truth, they were still learning, not just practicing with old information.

        I have joined a group that is encouraging me to write at least five hundred words a day. That may seem like a lot and some days it is. The idea is to get the people in the group into the habit of writing some every day. If you think about it five hundred words a day can really add up. Over a month, 30 days, you would write 15000 words. In less than ten months you have yourself a novel! Maybe. 
See the problem is that if you can write words but if you aren’t learning as you go all you are doing is writing more of the same things you are writing now. If you're a Pro at grammar and at being a wordsmith then this is great news. You can get into the habit which will launch your writing career. If you have issues, well you have just produced a large amount of rewriting and editing. 

      So what is the answer? I think the answer is what these students did. They did both quantity work and went to class while they did. They didn’t just work, they learned and then they produced quality.  
As I was writing this I remember reading in a book that the key to success was not talent but something the author called deliberate practice. It wasn’t just practicing but working on the skills needed to reach your goal. He talked about sports figures spending time not on playing the game but on exercises that stretched them and made them better. The author talked about Benjamin Franklin taking apart the best literature works of his time and rewriting them in various fashions so he could become a better writer.     

       If you want to read more about the concept of deliberate practice I suggest (I looked it us)  reading Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from EverybodyElse by Geoff Colvin. I have read it a couple of times and have been inspired every time I read it. And if you're wondering what book I was reading of John Maxwell’s it was Attitude 101, a great little book that you can go through in one sitting. Though you might want to take a little longer and have a highlighter or pen handy. 

Whatever you do, keep growing. 

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