Thursday, February 18, 2010

What I Meant To Say

Perfection is like a one-ton truck. We want to hop on and go for a ride but we're afraid of getting caught under the wheels.

There's nothing quite so crushing as the self-imposed expectation that our work should be perfect within five minutes of a first attempt. It's surprising how many people hold themselves to impossibly high standards, or never try something at all for fear of not measuring up. In workshops, I try to counterbalance that kind of thinking with lots of encouragement to just try, it doesn't have to be perfect, see what happens, etc., etc. Sometimes it's a little like the pot calling the kettle black, but that's my job and I love it.

One might get the impression, though, that I don't give technical virtuosity its just due, which is not the case. I've been working on how to express in elegant simplicity that virtuosity is a worthy goal but one not generally achieved in the space of a few hours. And that it's not achieved at all without effort. And effort can be its own reward. And effort can be fun.

That script needs a lot of work.

In the meantime, Kevin Rothermel makes some good points in this post on Perfection and moving on from the 20th Century Anomaly.
...our survival as a species largely has depended on our ability to be imperfect. We are problem solvers. And our brain rewards us for mastering new problems. We have been set up by evolution to be generalists who are rewarded for becoming more and more so. Imperfection is our game. And we’re really good at it.

Perfection by it’s nature is boring. It implies conforming to an already established convention. We can’t learn anything new from something that is perfect, and learning something new is what our brains thrive on and reward us for. Once we’ve memorized a pattern, our brains no longer provide that jolt of dopamine that it did the first time we learned that pattern...
So I'm off to the studio for a jolt of dopamine. And just in case you're wondering, the photo above is of my dad and my Aunt Sue, and Perfection really was the name on the truck.

No comments:

Post a Comment

This blog has moved to I hope you'll join the conversation there!