The grey area between quality and quantity


TWO (1)

I’ve always thought of myself as a person who chooses quality over quantity. I’d rather have fewer high quality things than a house full of junk. I’d rather share mere moments of real conversation with a friend than many distracted hours.

The choice isn’t always that black and white, though. In some cases, quantity begets quality.

We don’t always have quality as an option without paying our dues in quantity first. I don’t get to say, “I’d rather write one bestseller instead of hundreds of blog posts that miss the mark.”

I would, it’s true, but I don’t get to be that writer without writing hundreds of thousands of lesser words. The becoming, the sharpening, is in the quantity.

Hours spent over years might just produce quality work, but you don’t get to choose quality on your first attempt.

The perfectionist is paralyzed by the fear of anything less than the best. She doesn’t want to do it until she can do it right. Often getting it right depends on getting it wrong over and over.

I’m also starting to understand the value of quantity time in relationships. The people you spend the most time with, quality or no, become so familiar that you gain insights into their hearts they’d never reveal in a 45 minute coffee date.

I’ll take the 45 minutes of quality time, but I don’t have the same shorthand with those people.

You know your quantity people. Even if you spend most of your time together just in proximity, not locked in deep conversation, you know their things. You know their moods, their tastes, what annoys them. You know their faults and struggles, their embarrassments and minor hurts. You see their best and worst. You take them for granted.

In the end, our quantity relationships, where we spend so many unfocused hours, are some of our highest quality relationships.

On a more materialistic note, a personal stylist once told me that great style is a “mix of high’s and low’s,” meaning a combination of more expensive, high quality pieces and cheaper accents.

What do you think? Are there areas of life where quantity begets quality?

3 thoughts on “The grey area between quality and quantity

  1. Good article! I agree with what you said about relationships: there’s no substitute for getting to know someone over time.

  2. Pingback: Your creative life

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