Is it possible? Should we even aim for both?
The saying goes “quality over quantity”, but can you have your cake and eat it too?
It seems like we have life phases where we are more concerned with quality or quantity. Generally speaking, I would say with age we transition from a quantity mindset to a more quality mindset, but it is dependent on a lot of factors, like context for instance.
From a young age we were always concerned with the quantity of something. Having two bags of lollies was always superior to one bag, same with cups of cordial. Having 50 friends was considered to be of higher status than five. Reading a book a week was valued higher than one a month.
Now, it’s not to say we don’t have similar analogies in adulthood, like how earning $150,000/year is viewed more positively than earning $50,000. Going to the gym five times a week is seen to be more approving than three times. Having travelled to 20 countries gives you the higher ground over someone who has been to two. However, as adults, we are now usually more pressed for time (especially in modern society) and the quality of our life starts to become more on our minds than the quantity.
Our friendship circles start to get smaller, but the quality usually improves. The amount of activities we undertake reduces, but the value and worth of the activities we still do increases. I certainly don’t read the same volume of books I once did, but I am more satisfied with what and how much I do read now. I don’t play as many hours nor as many titles of video games as I did when I was younger, but I play select “quality” games that I know I’ll enjoy and really appreciate the time I do get to play them.
Ask anyone pursuing a creative endeavour in the modern era and the holy grail is quality and quantity. It feels like one must be endlessly producing content and at a high level, which is a difficult thing to do, dare I say impossible. One has to put out material multiple times a week just to stand a chance at being seen and to maintain a presence in the online world. However, people are not going to regularly consume your creations if they are not of quality, plus there is an abundance of free content that they can move onto to peak their interest. I find that the more you focus on the quantity of work, the quality of work inevitably takes a hit, so I try and aim for an optimum where I feel I can maintain the high standards I’ve set for myself.
Lady Algorithm and the Elders of the Internet reward frequent and persistent posting as that is what feeds the beast of the likes of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Views, likes, comments, subscribers are the currency. But, it is constantly changing and even a large subscriber base is no guarantee of a regular, loyal and repeat following. In my experience, you control the quality of your content and the rest will take care of itself, even if it does take a bit more time to garner a following (though it will generally result in greater quality audience) though you may suffer in total views and likes. Such is the nature of the click bait and controversy world that we’re in, but I’ll expand on this in another post.
So, can we have both quality and quantity? Yes. Should we aim for both? Yes, but we must focus on quantities OF quality, or more accurately, the RIGHT quantities of quality. It is impossible to have quality friendships with 1,000 people. It is impossible for everyone to earn $150,000/year, but we still can have a quality of life that transcends monetary wealth. The quality of our working career is independent of whether we have five jobs or 25 jobs over our lifetime. The quality is paramount and must come first before we can start working on the quantity, but sometimes we go through years of poor quality before achieving this.
The RIGHT quantities of quality – in life, friendship and work.