The One Percent Worthwhile

photography by dan james
photography by dan james

Naturally, we all want to create our best work, as often as possible.

But with such expectations, when we inevitably don’t create brilliant work every time, it usually leads to frustration, disappointment and disillusionment.

Which means we create less and therefore reduce the likelihood further that we will regularly create great work.

What if adjusted these expectations though?

I was heartened to hear an interview with one of my favourite photographers recently.

She explained that for a typical day of shooting on the street, she might end up with 300 photographs. After editing, she keeps at most around 5%. Of these, about 80% she shares/publishes online.

In other words, 4% of all the photographs she takes, she feels are worth sharing.

On average four, for every hundred taken, are keepers.

Other photographers I’ve read about have an even lower hit rate, and might end up with only one shot they love every month, or a handful in a year, despite shooting thousands.

Let’s get back to your artwork. What if your expectation rate was just 1%?

What if, for every hundred things you created – every hundred poems you wrote, every hundred paintings you painted, or every hundred dances you danced – you produced one that was exceptional, and made it all worthwhile?

Would that be enough?

With a keeper rate of 1%, would you still create?

Share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.


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