The Story of the Photography Class

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This story is about a college photography class. On the very first day, the professor divided the class into two groups.

He told the first group of students that they would be graded purely on the quantity of photos they took over the course of the semester. Those with the most number of photos submitted would receive the highest grades and those with the fewest photos would score lower. 

He told the second group of students that they would only be allowed to submit one picture at the end of the semester and that they would be graded solely on the quality of this one picture. 

During the semester, the first group constantly took photographs. They took photographs of anything and everything. After all, nobody said the pictures needed to be good. They just needed a lot of pictures. 

Students in the second group spent the semester diligently trying to compose their one perfect picture. They analyzed the composition. They considered the lighting. They planned and planned and planned and eventually, painstakingly, created that one picture upon which their entire grade hinged.

Towards the end of the semester, the students submitted their photos and the professor announced that he was holding a competition to determine which pictures were the very best ones. The students each voted via a course website and gathered on the final day to find out the winners. 

Surprisingly,  every single one of the top photographs in the class ended up being taken by students in the first group! In other words, all of the best pictures taken by the class were photos from the students who had been told to only concern themselves with quantity. Nobody in the second group, the group solely focused on quality, produced a best picture. 


The moral of the story is that actually doing what you are trying to get good at is what produces excellence rather than thinking and planning. The key to acquiring a skill is consistent practice and simply to get immediately started doing.