Let the right something in

There will always be more somethings we want to do than we have time to do. Right? Maybe.

  1. A lot of the right somethings can add up to a great thing, even if the somethings aren’t of the highest quality or express the biggest idea.
  2. A lot of the wrong somethings aren’t that interesting, unless your work is generally of great enough import that historians take an interest in it.
  3. A lot of the wrong somethings may not add up to much at all and are unlikely to attract the interest of historians.
  4. If you don’t care about whether something’s great, you can produce a lot of somethings.
  5. If you don’t care if something expresses a big idea, you can produce a lot of somethings.

A lot of truisms will tell you that quality is the important thing and quantity is secondary. But perhaps there are all sorts of cases where that’s not entirely true.

Mozart wrote way more music than Beethoven; Beethoven’s was more sophisticated but their bodies of work are considered on the same level. There are way more episodes of Law and Order and all its spin-offs than Breaking Bad; one made more money, one gathered more acclaim.

Rather than deciding to pursue quality over quantity, perhaps it’s better to:

  • Choose your somethings with care
  • Execute on the idea central to those somethings
  • Produce as many somethings as possible without hating the quality of your work