Make more pots: quantity may improve quality

Download PDF

I have been telling many of you in the boxing drills lately to just stay relaxed and throw more punches; to stop worrying about throwing the “perfect” punch at the “perfect” time to the “perfect” target.  The goal isn’t even to hit “hard” at the early stages.

Simply pretend you are in a pottery class and try to make as many pots as possible in a short amount of time.  You just need to “make more pots” than the other guy.  If done correctly, this method will help you to improve more quickly by learning from your many mistakes and finding ways to be more efficient. This methodology was brought to my attention in myown studies.  Since I am not known for taking credit for someone else’s work, I tracked down the source I used.

Here it is an excerpt from the original article on the Japanese Language learning site “Tofugu”:

Why Quantity, Not Quality, Makes You Fluent In Japanese

I’d like the start this article with a quote from “Art & Fear”, a book written by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, 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, came grading time and 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.

You can buy Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking on