Tuesday, October 03, 2006

the fear of beginning

i found this list in an amazon review of the book Uncommon Genius. #8, especially.

1. Find your talent.
2. Commit to it and make it shine
3. Don't be afraid of risk. Or even failure, which if seen in its proper light, brings insight and opportunity.
4. Find courage by looking to something stronger and better than your puny vulnerable self.
5. No lusting after quick resolutions. Relax. Stay loose.
6. Get to know yourself; understand your needs and the specific conditions you favor.
7. Respect, too, your culture. We can't, any of us, escape the twenty-first century. It's tucked up around our collective chin as snugly and as firmly as the bedsheet.
8. Then, finally, break free from the seductive pull of book learning and research and the million other preparatory steps that could delay the entire span of a life and immerse yourself in the doing.


then also a very striking (&scary, for me) parable about pottery:

“The 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 work they produced, all those on the right solely on its 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: fifty pounds of pots rated an ‘A’, forty 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’.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the ‘quantity’ group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the ‘quality’ group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”


i was really struck by this. not intellectually, but on an emotional level.

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