One of the odd truths about work in life is that the perception of how the work came to be is hardly taken into consideration. Nor does it really matter.
The product you ship to the market doesn’t care how long it took to build. The article you published to the internet doesn’t care how long you’ve sat on the idea. The video you posted on YouTube doesn’t care how long it took to re-record and edit.
The beauty of creation is that there’s no judge as to how long something takes to become “good”. The spur of the moment tweet, the random TikTok you record just for fun, the headline you write on a napkin for an upcoming product launch. All of these things can be good with little time and effort.
The challenge however is being consistently good. Nobody is ever consistently good when you’re put on the spot. In my 6 years of performing comedy improv in front of live audiences every weekend, even the best of the best will seize up when there’s external pressure to be good in the moment. Instead, they bomb.
In the last 2 years of playing competitive basketball leagues, no single player can consistently be clutch when the other team is just outplaying them. Instead, they exhaust themselves.
Nobody is always good in the moment. Sure there are people who can perform well under pressure and come out top in clutch situations on a more regular basis, but most of the time they still fail more than they succeed.
A good analogy for this phenomena is that of a microwave. Sure you can pop your work into a microwave and get something out within the couple minutes of cooking, but it might not be good, let alone edible.
As you try to consume it, you start to notice all of the imperfections. It’s not consistently warm everywhere. The center is ice-cold. The sauce has all melted to the bottom making a soggy excuse for a dinner.
The opposite being a slow cooker. What you put in will be ready after a certain amount of time. Once that time has come up, you’ve got a long window to consume it as it’ll be ready waiting for you.
So when you are consistently put on the spot to perform at a high level, consider this analogy. Are you willing to give just microwave work in the moment? Or will you push back and make room for the work to slowly cook until it’s ready?