August 03, 2016

I'm sure you've heard of that popular phrase by Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers" about the 10,000 hour rule. His notion was that

an extraordinarily consistent answer in an incredible number of fields ... you need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 hours before you get good.

While I think this is true, and an oversimplification, I think it's the application of that practice that actually gains you new insight. The key difference being what the purpose of that practice will be used for. The "Why." A writer can write for him/herself for 10,000 hours but if those sentences never see the light of day, then what was the point? Some wicked narcissism? There's no feedback, no new insight that can be obtained from outside your perspective. Days/weeks will be spent in a shallow depth, fearful of that plunge to the deep end.

It's easy to practice for yourself, you have no one to disappoint but you. It's only when you've come across criticism (good or bad) that you realize that what you're building is useful (or not) to someone. I say,

put that shit out there

Even if you think it's terrible, there's value in the act of producing something for someone else even if that someone else doesn't exist yet. You may never know, someone might actually like it.

I've started with zero knowledge of leather crafting and produced the most basic luggage tag; didn't even have the right stamp symbols. My "Why" was because I wanted to build something using my own hands for my girlfriend (now fiancee) for her birthday. It started out so trivially and naturally grew to be something more. I hadn't planned on making more luggage tags let alone building a leather brand at the time, I just wanted to get something out there that I can say I made, and people were receptive to that.

2 years later and I still make luggage tags, but they look much better now. That consistent want to produce something and push it out there has always remained with me, even through all the mistakes I've made (... so many). I view criticism much differently now, definitely used to be afraid of it. Now, it's a stepping stone to better adaptations. I'm proud of the leather pieces I've given to others, even the first few ones. A part of this brand physically exists beyond my enclosures. That makes me happy.

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