Monday, October 31, 2011

1 Percent

When I started sewing my first project was to make a floppy leather briefcase. This was when I lived in New York City and was discovering first hand how expensive it was to live in “the city”. And how expensive floppy leather briefcases were.

One of the first things I learned about sewing leather was that once you make a hole in a piece of leather it doesn’t go away - when sewing cloth you can rip out a seam and the cloth doesn’t show holes where you have sewn. But, with leather you don’t have that luxury. Either you make sure your design is right, and that you get your seams where they belong, or you buy more leather.

Talk about attention to detail! But, it is attention to details - like these - that make one truly exceptional in ones work. I have entitled this posting “1 Percent” not because I am fascinated by the political machinations that are currently plaguing our great country, but because I believe anything that is worth doing is worth doing not just right - but as absolutely perfectly as possible. As in the top 1%. I suppose you could say I am railing against mediocrity - and in fact, I probably am.

My experience has taught me that it often doesn’t take a lot to achieve a really phenomenal result - just a bit more effort - not giving up when something doesn’t quite go right, slowing down when things seem to be going in a direction you don’t really want to go... Funny thing is, if you start this kind of behavior when you are young it really does get easier with each new project. And, on the flip side, if you start accepting a half-done job early in life it becomes more difficult to get things right with each succeeding project.

Sometimes I find myself thinking of the various skills that combine to let me finish projects today. Almost as if each project is the culmination of all the previous projects. Hmmm - does that mean that projects get easier - in some ways, but it still took me 15 hours on my hands and knees with paint remover and steel wool to get the old finish off of the slate on the front landing. I won’t have to do it again to get it right, and it will be gorgeous, but it was still serious work.

And, as I write this I periodically answer the door to dispense candy to the brave souls that trekked up the hill for their Halloween spoils. And, each time I look at the slate I am glad I took the time. OH - watch the slate - it is slippery!

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