Quantity leads to quality

Herbert Lui has a post on Medium, Why Quantity Should be Your Priority, that fits nicely with what I’ve been learning about practice.

Don’t get too hung up initially on polishing your work to perfection. Instead, focus on cranking out as much as you can. Doing something often will lead to doing it well.

“…quantity should be a higher priority than quality, because it leads to higher quality. The shorter path to maximized quality is in maximized quantity, and executing on the feedback after each finished product.” -Herbert Lui

I’m fascinated by Shinji, who is considered the “most graceful” swimmer in the world. He didn’t start swimming regularly until he was in his late 30’s, and now the YouTube video of his swimming is the most popular swimming video on the Internet, more popular than Michael Phelps’s videos.

How did an average guy with a job and a family get so good? He practiced. A lot.

“I made it my goal to become the ‘most graceful swimmer in the world.’ Whenever I was in Japan I spent 3 to 4 hours in the endless pool, usually from 10PM to 2AM, four days a week, recording my swim, analyzing it frame by frame, finding and fixing small flaws, one by one.” -Shinji

This is a great example of deep practice, where you work to your potential, bump up against your current limits, and keep going till you improve and move to a higher level.

Here’s that most-watched swim video by Shinji, demonstrating the quality that comes from well focused quantity:

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