TN50 #63, 50 Pounds of Pottery, 14 March 2022

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #63.  An Art Teacher decided to do an experiment in their Intermediate Pottery class.  The professor split the class in two groups, A and B.

Group A’s semester assignment was to create 50 pounds of pottery for an A, 40 pounds would get a student a B, 30 pounds a C.

Group B’s semester assignment was to create one masterpiece of pottery and the students would get an A.

Group A got to work creating bowls and cups and plates, Group B started researching what an amazing piece of pottery might look like; the semester seemed to fly by.

At the end of the class all of the student in Group A carted in their 50 lbs. of production and the Group B students each carefully carried in their one piece.

At this point everyone in the studio seemed to be noticing the same thing, all the most beautiful pieces of pottery were in the collections of the students in Group A. It seems that while Group A students were getting a lot of reps, cranking out quantity,  they made a lot of mistakes and learned how to fix them.  Along the way they became much better potters.  While the students in Group B sat around thinking about amazing pots and plates but NOT getting any reps and NOT producing anything close to a masterpiece.

Pretty catchy story, right?  I first heard this illustration a few weeks ago (Original Story: David Bayles and Ted Orland’s book, Art & Fear) and it has stuck with me, there are many things I need to get a lot more reps on.  One example is TN50 another example would be coaching, in both cases I am making mistakes and “hope of hopes” getting better (all be it, slowly).  Sometimes it seems like it’s two steps forward and one step back, but that is still progress so as long as I don’t quit who knows how useful I can be to those I come in contact with.

How about you, are there places you need reps?  Maybe it’s a relationship that needs work, holy cow on that one, right?  Everyone is like, “me too, me too.” Maybe it’s a business idea that needs reps, maybe it’s your morning routine or evening routine that needs more reps.

Are you getting the reps?  Yes, awesome!  No, why not?  Scared of failure, shitty reps aren’t failure, shitty reps are training.  Training reps are how we get smoother, get faster, get stronger, get better.

Everyone reading this has at least one area in their life that is their personal “50 Pounds of Pottery”, so get your reps and remember, 50 pounds = an A, 40 pounds = a B…

As always, please share your thoughts, as your questions and share this with your team or anyone who might find it useful.

Have a good one, Alex