Parable of the Pots

Posted on Sat 05 October 2019 in Quotes

One fun story that I enjoy thinking about is what I call the pottery parable. The supposed story goes that a pottery teacher has two students. On Monday he tells the first student: “Your job this week is to try to create one perfect pot. Spend as much time as you need. Make it perfect.” Then he tells the second student: “Your job this week is to make as many pots as possible. I don’t care if they’re nice. Crank ‘em out.” Then on Friday, he comes back. What does he find?

Not only has the second student produced hundreds more pots than the first student (who’s laboured over his one shot at glory); every single one of her pots is better. The way you learn how to make a perfect pot is by making a lot of pots. Period.

I love the message here, in that the only way to get good at something is to just try. By doing it over and over again, that’s how we finally get good at the thing.