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December 13th, 2018

When starting any new endeavor or acquiring a new skill, we do ourselves a disservice by wanting to be good or great.  This is the mirage of the montage, which skips all the boring, frustrating parts where not much is happening.  The most important thing to do is to shoot for the minimum viable success. 


If say, playing the guitar, learning theory and working through scales are not really great places to start.  Even if theory is learned or scales are mastered, there is nothing to really show off, even if we’re just showing off to ourselves.  The best thing to do would be to fine a much admired song that is actually rather simple, and work towards being able to play that.


In the arena of computer coding, the first thing that always gets taught is simply how to get ‘Hello World’ to pop up on the screen.  Again, this is the minimum viable success.


In classical figure drawing, the use of gesturing is highly employed.  This is process of quickly sketching out the entire figure very very quickly.  Some exercises will push the artist to draw an entire figure in just a few seconds.  This leaves little room to make anything more than just a stick figure, but the exercise proves very useful, with practice, even such stick figures can be incredibly accurate and evocative of the posture.


When it comes to writing, getting absolutely anything on the page is far more important than any other word, sentence or paragraph that comes afterwards.  Simply being able to see and know that something has been written has a direct correlation to our faucet of inspiration. 


But we should not look for the minimum viable success only at the beginning of every new endeavor and acquisition of skill.  It’s at every stage in our process of learning that we should seek the next minimum viable success.


The minimum viable success is really a moment in progress when we feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.  These are boosts to our psyche and mentality that sustain us emotionally while struggling to solve the next piece of whatever puzzle and problem we seek to work on.  Working in a way that optimizes finding and gobbling up those success points goes a long way in determining whether or not we will stick with something in the long term.  If we can understand this about ourselves, then we can learn smarter, by learning in accordance to the satisfaction of our emotional system instead of just expecting some super expression of will power to brute force our way through.  Often while learning we may feel like we are in opposition to ourselves, trying to force ourselves to do something.  That lazy reptilian part of our brain needs something to chew on, and the minimum viable success is exactly the sort of treat that’ll get it to shut up and let you work in peace with a genuine sense of curiosity.


Each small success compounds into something much larger.


Every large success is simply the result of countless tiny victories.


The question here that we can incorporate into our days is:


Which small piece of this puzzle can I execute will be the most satisfying to have solved?


This episode references Episode 234: Chipping the Composite and Episode 21: The Montage is False

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Podcast Ep. 242: Minimum Viable Success

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