Accidentally Good
Stacks Image 128

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


I believe that one of the distinctive traits of true mastery in a skill is that the quality of your work is consistently good. And when we talk of mastery, the key word is “consistently”.

In other words you properly master a skill when the probability that your work has good quality is close to 100%. Note that this may also mean that you are experienced enough to refuse to work when you are not convinced you can get a good result. Or that you always make sure that you have appropriate tools. Or that you carefully judge how much time your work will take in order to be good enough.

These are all elements of mastery in my opinion and do not detract from your ability. And note also that I am not talking of talent, here. Just mastery.

Also, I am convinced that the opposite applies: just like a master may, once in a blue moon, fail spectacularly at his craft, the amateur may, purely by chance, sometimes turn in something really good.

The amateur will be the first to be surprised, though, and no matter how much he or she tries, further attempts will invariantly fail short of these happy random treasures: mastery is, in other words, repeatable quality.

This area will be devoted to my own random acts of quality - where I showcase works that I really liked… even if I am painfully aware that I can’t predictably reproduce any of them.