Stop Wasting Time Being a Perfectionist and Make More Bad Stuff

in Expert Opinions

Stop Wasting Time Being a Perfectionist & Make More Bad Stuff

When you are first learning or perfecting a skill, whether it be baking, archery, or public speaking, it is easy to get stuck in the cycle of analysis paralysis. You want to learn as much as you possibly can before you actually do the task, but you end up wasting time preparing yourself instead of just trying to do it.

Major League Baseball pitchers don’t throw a perfect game every time they play, so why do you expect to be perfect all the time?

Jonathan Fields recently wrote an excellent piece on how the key to getting better at something is to make more bad stuff.

That is a powerful message. In a world filled with perfectionists who don’t want to share what they’ve created with anyone unless they think it is perfect, the best way to get better is actually with hands-on practice. And the best way to practice is by trying over and over again until you stop failing miserably.

Jonathan uses the example of building a guitar, but wanting the first one to be perfect.

‘Go and make a really bad guitar.’ Stop waiting around, go buy a kit and do it. Today.

The first one… will be bad. Maybe really bad. But you’ll learn more making one bad guitar than you will waiting to do something and then taking a course that teaches you how to do it right. You’ll understand a lot more about the “why” behind good and bad building, and that’ll put you in a radically different position to do it better moving forward.

- Jonathan Fields

There Are No Shortcuts

When we asked whether or not there are shortcuts to becoming an expert, many of the responses revolved around a single theme:

The quickest path to expertise is to take direct action, get a lot of experience, and work your ass off.

There may be some mental or physical tricks that you can use to save a little bit of time, but major shortcuts just don’t exist to becoming an expert.

There’s a lot of emphasis on trying to accelerate the path to success by spending a ton of time studying the methods of those have succeeded before us in the hope that we’ll be able to avoid many of the mistakes they made.

- Jonathan Fields 

There is no system to game, way to cheat, or 30 steps to success that you can use to become the best at something. Practice and focus are the key.

Yes, you should learn necessary things such as the safety procedures before you do something dangerous like rock climbing or strenuous like running a marathon, but just get out there. Go for a climb. Go for a run.

Learn from what you did, not what you read.

End the Analysis Paralysis

By spending too much time with your nose in a book, reading how-to articles online, or watching video tutorials you will hurt the speed of your learning by not putting yourself out there, trying to do great work, failing, and then getting better.

So, learn, what you can, but at the same time, get your head out of the classroom and start making more bad stuff.

- Jonathan Fields 

Don’t worry about how bad you do the first time. You learned to walk as a child by continually falling on your face trying to take your first steps. Life is the same way.

Be so determined that no matter what happens the first time you try to do something you will try again. Keep yourself from focusing too much on the failure. Decide at the start that you just need to reach completion once in whatever way you can. Then do it again, and again, until you are satisfied with the results.

There’s no greater accelerant along the path to genius than a flaming trail of crap.

- Jonathan Fields

What is one thing you have been putting off doing for far too long?

Is there something you are too afraid to start working towards because you don’t want to fail? 

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