There are three stages of preparation. (For a speech, a product, an interview, a sporting event...)
The first I'll call the beginner stage. This is where you make huge progress as a result of incremental effort.
The second is the novice stage. This is the stage in which incremental effort leads to not so much visible increase in quality.
And the third is the expert stage. Here's where races are won, conversations are started and sales are made. A huge amount of effort, off limits to most people, earns you just a tiny bit of quality. But it's enough to get through the Dip and be seen as the obvious winner.
Here's the myth: The novice stage is useful.
If all you're going to do is go through the novice stage before you ship, don't bother. If you're not prepared to put in the grinding work of the expert stage, just do the beginner stuff and stop screwing around. Make it good enough and ship it and move on.
We diddle around in the novice stage because we're afraid. We polish (but not too much) and go to meetings (plenty of them) and look for deniability, spending hours and hours instead of shipping. And the product, in the end, is not so much better.
I'm all for expertise. Experts, people who push through and make something stunning--we need more of them. But let's be honest, if you're not in the habit of being an expert, it's unlikely your current mode of operation is going to change that any time soon.
Go, give a speech. Go, start a blog. Go, ship that thing that you've been hiding. Begin, begin, begin and then improve. Being a novice is way overrated.
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