The Purple Cow

Meet this ceramics teacher.

“A ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.  All those on the left side of the classroom, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right side solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his weighing scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” groups: fifty pounds of pots would be given ‘A’ grade, 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, come grading time 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.

This is an excerpt from the fantastic book "Art & Fear”.

Sometimes we waste too much time on over-thinking and end up with a pile of dead clay. This metaphor can be extended to our lives too. All of our youth, especially the brightest and strongest years, we spend on ridiculous things and waste away our energy fantasizing which career path we should take, while by the time we reach our thirties we are already tired.

Make a conscious choice about life and just jump into it. You don’t have too many decades of relentless spirit. Your passion will fade away slowly, like the falling sun who is brightest during the day, but eventually disappears in the dusk.

The sad thing is not that you are not aware of your potential. You are aware. But what you are not aware is how close you are to your dusk.