Monday, April 30, 2007

Why perfect <> happy

There was an interesting article on Yahoo Finance the other day about how trying to be perfect will actually leave you less satisfied and happy. (This idea is also discussed in length in Barry Schwartz's book The Paradox of Choice).

The most memorable part of the article was this:

A ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of the work they produced. All those on the right would be graded solely on their works' quality.

His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group; 50 pound of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot -- albeit a perfect one -- to get an A.

At grading time, the works with the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.
This is something that all of us (most notably myself!) should take to heart. Stop trying to get things right, and just do things. That's how you get them right, by trying...and learning along the way. I'd be pretty surprised if a series of small failures leading up to a success didn't make you happier than not even getting to the success at all...

2 comments:

Papisels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eduardo said...

which just proves that getting started is the most productive thing you can do. Here's an interesting short article from the Truthteller site...
http://www.reddeerblog.com/2007/04/how-do-i-get-started.html