Lessons Learned from Stained Glass: How Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Until recently, the author of the article had never been inside a stained glass studio. Unexpectedly, he found himself inside two different studios over the span of three days. In this article, he shares an important lesson he learned from a conversation with one of the artists.
Stained glass artists create different designs by making cuts on the glass to “score” it and then breaking off the pattern or shape that they want to use in the finished product. The most difficult cut in stained glass is called an inside cut, which is a curved line where the part inside of the curve is thrown away. The problem with inside cuts is that the edges of the curve tend to chip when the pieces of scored glass are broken apart.
The artist shared with the author a strategy used to cut glass that applies to habits, self-improvement, and almost everything else. Instead of trying to cut too much off at once, the best way to do an inside cut is to slice off smaller curves piece-by-piece. By slowly cutting deeper and deeper curves, the artist prevents the glass from chipping and breaking as it changes shape.
This strategy can be applied to changing behavior, building new habits, and learning new skills. Instead of trying to make a big change and cut the entire piece at once, one can choose to make slow, methodical gains. Start with a small, unimpressive cut that can easily be handled and do it well. Then repeat with a slightly bigger step, and again, and again.
The author points out that changing one’s behavior and pursuing goals in a slow and steady manner is not easy, and slow gains are not as glamorous or attention-grabbing as quick, dramatic changes. However, moving forward in a slow and methodical manner does not mean lacking ambition, drive, or vision. Just like a stained glass artist, one can have a clear vision of what they are working towards and make small improvements. Eventually, one will achieve success and end up with a beautiful masterpiece on their hands instead of a bunch of fragments.
The lesson learned from stained glass is that successful transformation and growth require patience, persistence, and incremental progress. It’s not about achieving a goal overnight or quickly transforming one’s life in a weekend. It’s about committing to small, consistent steps that add up over time. As the artist said, the best way to do an inside cut is to slice off smaller curves piece-by-piece. And that, is how to approach change like a stained glass artist.
In conclusion, the lesson learned from stained glass is an important reminder that success is not about dramatic overnight changes, but about slow and steady progress. The author shares that he has made the mistake of trying to make big changes and push himself to the brink of exhaustion. However, he has realized that it’s better to start small and focus on making marginal gains. By applying the strategy of a stained glass artist, one can prevent themselves from chipping and breaking as they change shape, and instead, end up with a beautiful masterpiece in their life.