Nothing or Something?
Updated: Apr 26, 2020
When was the last time you completed work you thought was less than great? While Jerry Seinfeld makes a big deal of doing “nothing” for a living, he may have a lesson for us in precision and using time. Take a couple minutes and watch this short piece of Jerry doing something he almost never does - showing how he puts one of his bits together.
Art and entertainment is all around us. Because it’s usually in the background or it’s stuff we consume when we are not at work, I wager we rarely consider the actual work that goes into making it so easy to experience. To me, it seems pretty technical.
Seinfeld demonstrates some detailed precision engineering to get you and millions of others to laugh at his words, his delivery, his presence. Still think he’s nothing special? Try calling up a name among the hundreds of comedians that play at your local comedy club each year.
He shares his tools - yellow legal pad, blue clear barrel bic pen. He talks about fitting pieces together as precisely as girders on a building - he is shaving letters off words, counting syllables.
He has criteria - the first line has to be funny; the biggest laugh has to be at the end. And yet it’s all delivered as if he just thought it up and he can’t wait to get it out. He tells us this bit took two years to be ready.
Keep "2 years" in mind when you find yourself rushing to meet a deadline or cramming in everything you can think of to get to THE solution. Maybe feeling wrong about where you are is telling you, "Step back, build in some extra time just so you can waste it."
If Jerry can make his carefully crafted something look like nothing - you, wasting time with the purpose of letting undiscovered solutions bubble up from the ooze of data, timelines, and meetings - may lead to your less than great solution blossoming into something stellar; something to be celebrated!
When did you last take extra time to make a so-so solution become great?