“Quality over Quantity”

:How quality and quantity can be combined to increase our creativity and progress.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

Steve Jobs

I think there is time (and room) for quality and quantity, but there’s one interesting thing about quality:

Quality gets you both

The more hard work, heart and spirit you put into your work, the more it will resonate with others. In an un-intuitive way (but in a way that makes sense when you think about it) quality creates quantity automatically by being a breath of fresh air that a lot of people want and are looking for. This is a very Steve Martin “so good they can’t ignore you” approach to creativity and work.

Quality won’t get you overnight success, but it will put you on a path towards success. Personally, it makes me much happier too. I feel 100x better when I put the time and effort into high quality work versus when I don’t put in the time it needs and phone it in.

Cheap work doesn’t last long. Cheap can potential be a powerful tool to iterate towards quality, but why not reach for quality from the get-go? However, it also leaves us open to taking shortcuts (aka lazy-cuts) and put in the bare minimum. Quantity gets you speed —which is great — but what is the cost of going faster? More backtracking? More time refactoring and redoing? It’s all about balance, of course. What do we need to do to ensure quality without being a perfectionist, and produce quantity through quality, without sacrificing quality from our work.

But how do you know what’s quality and what’s not?

Tricky question.

I think it’s part doing the best you can, pushing your capacity to its max on what you are doing, while constantly learning and consuming other people’s great work. Great work sets the bar. It’s our job to push past the bar, or even break the bar with our creativity and originality. You need both — doing and learning. Otherwise, you can easily fall into the trap of comparing how great everyone else’s work is and how poor your is (or how little you are doing comparatively). Great work says, “This is where I am, now what are you going to do? and you say, “keep creating, keep learning, keep pushing boundaries and keep getting better every day”.

All that said, in order to have quality, you also need a little quantity on your actions. By narrowing your focus on what matters, and consistently coming back to that focus, day in and day out, you can expedite or even compound your creativity. Just as Aristotle once wrote “Quality is not an act, it’s a habit”. Quality is the focus; Quantity (as in consistency) is the means.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #587

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