Do you want to learn the real truth about perfectionism? Why I sincerely believe that you should focus more on “QUANTITY” than Quality. Watch the Video here, or continue reading…
Trust me, I have walked down this long road so many times. And I can assure you that it is not a quick route to success, which is an understatement of the highest proportions!
A Story about Quality vs Quantity
I actually have a story for you, based on an experiment I read about. It started as most experiments based on statistical data. 2 groups of students were invited to learn about pottery, and how to make your own pottery. One group was told that they were part of a contest, and would be evaluated on which group could make the most beautifully crafted piece of pottery. The other group also was told that it was a contest, but that the winner would be the group that produced the most amount of pottery.
What was the Result?
Well, the first group, spent so much time trying to perfect one single piece of pottery, and had do restart over and over. Finally they did manage to get something they were satisfied with.
The other group made so much pottery, and most of the results were very bad. However, there were some that looked really nice.
Then the final announcement of the winner came: And it was made clear that both groups were indeed being evaluated by judges of pottery craft, on quality of the end result.
The clear winner by these judges were surprisingly not the group that focused on quality, but the group that focused on quantity.
Let’s repeat the lesson learned from this study (any many more like it): Quality comes much faster if you focus on Quality!
Learning by Doing
The key lesson from this study, is that the best way to learn are from making mistakes. Basically it is all about: Learning by doing. So the more you do something, the better you become at it.
Are you a perfectionist like me? Do you also see the power of this study. I am going to try to change my attitude, even though I know it’s hard to do. Try to focus more on completing more things, creating more, and by doing so, improving myself much faster.
Your Action Time!
Now that you learned this very important scientific truth about perfectionism. Well, if you have struggled with perfectionism your whole life, like me, what you are going to do about it? Here are some actionable things I have tried, that you can follow as well:
For example, say to yourself, that you are going to complete a specific task in a certain time. Let’s say: “I will write this blog post in 1 hour”, then slot in 1 hour in your calendar. Also set limitations by for example, creating a sound palette before you start a new composition, and treat that sound palette as if it is your orchestra, and you are the conductor. That’s what you have to make music with. Let’s repeat that: “Create a Sound Palette and use it as your Orchestra”.
Set a deadline for all projects, and add the deadline in RED in your calendar. Also, I find that telling people about it makes me “don’t want to fail in front of their eyes”. Another form of deadline I have tried, is to actually use a timer on my smartphone…or even an egg timer. Then choose a task you want to complete in that hour, and make sure to complete it before the timer starts beeping.
WORK TO PUBLISH
I know how you feel…you want to make the most amazing piece of music, every time you are working on a track. I can relate to sitting hours and hours trying to find, shape and create the perfect sound, the perfect transitions, and even the perfect details. But here is the problem: “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder“. And this mindset of creating something perfect in your own eyes, actually makes you publish fewer tracks and creations with the world. I challenge you to change your mindset into “work for publish”, a concept I learned from Jack Conte in this amazing video: Work to Publish by Jack Conte. This mindset is about creating more, sharing more, publishing more…basically GIVING MORE to the world. That should be your mission as an artist. =)
PS. I wish you Great Success on your Professional Journey in Music! =)
Mikael “Mike” Baggström
Music Composer | Sound Designer