Creative Juice: Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Badly

October 28, 2013

You’ve heard the old expression, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” right?

Sure you have.  It’s what our dads and grandads told us when we left their tools out or mowed the grass haphazaradly or just did any task in a way that was not up to their standards.  It sure made sense.  If you are going to take the time and effort to do a job, you might as well do it correctly.  

I have no problem at all with that sentiment. I teach it to my students every day.  But I’m equally enamored with G.K. Chesterton’s play on the old expression for its subtle truth.

The first time you do something, you probably won’t do it correctly.  You will probably mess up.  You will likely make mistakes the second, third and fourth times you do something.  The work of your hands will not match the vision of your mind.

And everything that is worth doing is worth pushing through that.  It’s worth doing something over and over again, getting lousy results, making mistakes, in order to hone our skills and perfect our passions.

And that is such a harder lesson for kids to learn.  I can be hard on them all day about doing a lousy job on purpose.  But it’s so much harder to motivate a kid to keep going and try for the twentieth time because the thing they are doing is worth it.


Some of you know that I’m taking woodworking lessons at our local guild.  Last week was a train wreck.  Totally worth it.  What mistakes are you making today?  What are you doing badly and saying “It’s worth it.”?

2 responses to Creative Juice: Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Badly

  1. Yes. Yes. Yes. I’ve blogged about this over on my media production blog as well: What can I tempt you with to follow the link? Two excellent, and short, videos. One from Ira Glass (you may not recognize the name, but you should know him when you get there) and another from FreddieW and Brandon (and if you don’t know them, you haven’t experience YouTube action videos yet [smile]).

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  2. Knitting
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