To work towards a goal be it personal or professional we have two choices:
• Take multiple and frequent steps towards the goal – Quantity of steps
• Take infrequent but perfect steps toward the goal – Quality of steps
Here is an experiment that elaborates the difference(Courtesy: Atomic Habits):
ON THE FIRST day of class, Jerry Uelsmann, a professor at the University of Florida, divided his film, photography students, into two groups.
Everyone on the left side of the classroom would be in the “Quantity” group. They would be graded solely on the amount of work (No. Of Photos) they produced. On the final day of class, he would tally the number of photos submitted by each student. One hundred photos would rate an A, ninety photos a B, eighty photos a C, and so on.
Meanwhile, everyone on the right side of the room would be in the “Quality” group. They would be graded only on the excellence of their work. They would only need to produce one photo during the semester, but it had to be a nearly perfect image to get an A.
At the end of the term, he was surprised to find that all the best photos were produced by the Quantity group.
During the semester, “Quantity” students were busy taking photos, experimenting with composition and lighting, testing out various methods in the darkroom, and learning from their mistakes. In the process of creating hundreds of photos, they honed their skills.
Meanwhile, the Quality group sat around speculating about perfection. In the end, they had little to show for their efforts other than unverified theories and one mediocre photo.
Dont get bogged down to make it perfect
It is easy to get bogged down trying to find the optimal plan for change: the fastest way to lose weight, the best program to build muscle, the perfect idea for a side hustle. We are so focused on figuring out the best approach that we never get around to taking action.
As Voltaire once wrote, “The best is the enemy of the good.”
The problem with perfect quality steps is most of the time we don’t even know what’s a perfect step and are scared to “NOT GET” the perfect steps. Hence won’t even start towards a goal. It’s very difficult to find out the perfect steps and leads to analysis paralysis.
Whereas small frequent steps give us confidence, make us more proficient in the skill, giving us a much better chance. So let’s keep taking small but frequent steps even if it’s inaccurate towards our goals and achieve them.