My Precious! O my Precious!
My Precious, O my Precious
“I want three sketch designs. Three separate designs. Not variations on a theme.”
“But why?“ they all wail like little babies “We’re only building one table (chair, stool etc.). And it was so hard just to come up with the first idea.”
Ideas are cheap. Or at least they should be.
It’s the furniture that we want to be worth the big bucks.
I pull out an old dog eared copy of The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein and begin to read at the part where Gollum is so desperately looking for his lost ring.
“My Precious! O my Precious!….”
I tell them they’ll all grow up to be like Gollum – scrawny, slimy skinned, bad breath, no friends.
If they each come up with just a single idea, and then work diligently to develop it, they will all fail. Oh, I guess I might give them a 50. But they will have fallen far short of their potential. And they will still all be scared little rabbits, frightened of their own shadows.
The problem with having just a single idea is that as more and more work goes into developing it, the stakes grow higher. It becomes harder and harder to turn back, because now so much is invested in it. All of their eggs are in one frail basket.Their precious little design becomes something that must be protected at all costs. Not necessarily because it is good, but because it’s all they’ve got.They start becoming defensive, reluctant to hear critiscim, blind to their design’s faults. The conscientuous ones will redouble their efforts to make it work, forcing it wherever they have to, staying late after class, coming in early, personal hygiene begins to suffer…
Sometimes, late in the day,if you’re really quiet, you can even hear them pacing the tech hallways softly crying ”My Precious! O my Precious!”
Sometimes, when digging a hole you just simply start in the wrong place. It’s not a crime. But digging harder and deeper doesn’t really help much either. Let it go.
Developing multiple designs simultaneously, takes the pressure off.
Invariably one will rise to the top. It’s the one that just simply seems to come together, doesn’t require super strong materials unknown to mankind, doesn’t have people screwing up their faces when the look at it. Doesn’t require a step ladder to get into the seat…
And there won’t be any confusion over which one to go with either. Rather there will be a tremendous confidence that they are on the right track. And that confidence will be needed to sustain them through the many hours of construction that still lay ahead. Hours that must be spent productively, not wondering what if…
“Yes, three designs please.
For Monday, start of class.”