Tension breaks down

You are never the best judge of your own work. You cannot be.

Sometimes it is because of sunk costs, other times because of laziness, more often than not simply because your perspective is narrow, as it takes an incredible effort to see the world as others might. And so, we are often in tension between judging our work too harshly or too softly. Either way, it is never an appropriate measure for how we are doing.

This is valid also for groups. Going beyond the boundaries of what is known, liked, achieved is extremely difficult. Sometimes, we can mitigate this with diversity, and we should certainly try. But in the long term, a group will always appreciate their work with some degree of distortion.

Of course, this should not stop us from doing the work. Actually, it is an additional reason to put our work out there as soon as we deem it good enough. To see if there’s a fit, if it resonates, if it works, if it can spread. And if the answer is no, go back and repeat.

What we should never do, on the other hand, is protect the work from others, from feedback, from criticism, from admiration. We should not become executors that see a delivery (or a missed one) as the final stage. What we should never do is give that tension too much power, because eventually tension breaks down. You might be too far, too lost, too blind by that time to get back on track.

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