The 'Law of One Hundred' Is The Cure For Perfectionism.

Most of us are prisoners of perfectionism. Here's how we can escape once and for all.

Potter using a pottery wheel to form a piece that is early in its development.
Photo by Quino Al / Unsplash

The Uncomfortable Truth For Many

Most of us are prisoners of perfectionism. We're never going to do the things we want to do. Instead we'll remain in a state of neurotic paralysis as the seconds of our brief lives mercilessly tick by. If we asked most people in the world: "What's your biggest regret so far?" I'd wager most would answer one of three ways:

  1. Not doing the thing they wanted to do.
  2. Getting started sooner.
  3. Not giving up on something.

The Law of One Hundred inoculates us from these outcomes. I'd argue it's the cure for perfectionism many of us have been searching for.

What is The Law of One Hundred? (TLOH)

The way it was taught to me, The Law of One Hundred was discovered during a study of photography students. The students were broken up into two groups: quality and quantity. Each was asked to submit an entry at the end of the year for evaluation.

The quality group were tasked with submitting a single image by the end of the semester. As you may have already guessed, those focusing on quality were destroyed by the second group, the quantity group, who were asked to take 100 shots during the semester.

The students in the quantity group, in submitting 100 photos:

  1. Learned from their mistakes.
  2. Experimented more.
  3. Got better over time.

While the students in the quality group, who submitted a single photo:

  1. Obsessed over outcomes.
  2. Were paralyzed by perfectionism.
  3. Submitted poor quality work.

The Law of 100 Is The Cure For Perfectionism

The TLOH afforded the quantity group all kinds of space to be creative and develop their craft. Rather than existing as the quality students did, in a perverted rhapsody of perfectionism that prevented them from learning.

Noah Kagan, founder of App Sumo and the one who introduced me to this technique, says we would do well to not focus on the results or outcome, but work towards 100 reps of something. Be it posts, newsletters or what have you.

Noah didn't follow through with his podcast. He wanted to get 100k downloads a month but was only getting 30k, so, frustrated, he stopped. As mentioned, most creatives say the the thing they wished they had done, was start sooner.

How To Apply This In Your Own Life

If you're lookign to start a creative project, or you've fallen out of rhythm. Get back on the horse and get started. Don't delay. Just make a simple, realistic schedule you can hold to and stick with it.

  1. Develop a realistic posting/creating rhythm. (ex. Podcast once a week.)
  2. In tandem, learn more about the skill you're practicing.
  3. Borrow a technique from the top 1% of Twitch streamers and watch (or read, or evaluate etc.) your own content back regularly.
  4. Focus on the quantity, not the quality. Create a streak. Find your rhythm.
  5. I would also add that we do so intentionally and mindfully, learning as we go. 100 shitty reps are worth less than 100 mindful reps.

The beauty of The Law of 100 is its simplicity. It echoes Zen concepts like Beginner's Mind and allows us to acheive what Tim Gallwey, author of Inner Game of Tennis, would call "a state of relaxed concentration" when we learn our craft.

Go Even Deeper

Check out Noah's excellent breakdown on his YouTube channel below.