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I’ve encountered the idea many times that the goal of workers doing extremely ordinary tasks like plowing fields, chopping wood, carrying water, or shoveling dirt is doing very high quality work. They concentrate on their work for many hours, perhaps years, of refining the thing they are attempting to do and when that is achieved to a level of perfection they choose to make a refinement to make their routine product even better. To make their completed works into quality products that clearly bear the unique distinction of details and overall pattern that is their ideal.

Scribes of every nation, language script and historical period have had their personalized highly developed style. The same can be said for artistic productions of every media. The trait for uniqueness seems to arise when the media the artists are working within is seemingly overladen with extreme repetition. Imagine the limitations placed on a violinist dragging a batch of strings over a few other strings and making fascinating music, and yet they bring it to an astonishing perfection.

It becomes a question in my mind whether we lifelong coffee-shop raconteurs have developed a sophistication of speech, of conversation, of intellectual subtleties comparable to the violinist or plowman who has put in similar hours of work? These days most of us don’t study rhetoric as a discipline. We do assert our thoughts and opinions and we do want the approval of our interlocutors, but generally we don’t seek their money or physical labor or vote.

Do people who put in, say, ten hours a day of television watching after three years of watching become expert watchers? That would be 365 days times 10 hours or 3,650 hours of watching per year, and after three years that would be 10,950 hours of watching. That is well over the supposed 10,000 hours that it takes for a person to become an expert at some task. Do we now have billions of expert TV watchers? And, after thirty years of watching, is ten times the expert level achieved, so that those people possess a godlike ability to comprehend TV?

If humanity’s time spent watching TV was shifted over into some kind of mutually productive activity, what would happen? What if it was only you that devoted that amount of time and effort to produce and publish to the world your unique personal pursuit? What would happen?

What would happen if just you chose to do your personal work really well?