Every February 2nd we turn our eyes toward Pennnsylvania and wait for Punxsutawney Phil to tell us if spring is here or if winter will be around a bit longer. Several years ago, Bill Murray starred in the movie Groundhog Day – which (I think) did more than Phil ever did to raise the cultural awareness of this heretofore quiet holiday.
In the movie, Murray’s character is stuck re-living Groundhog Day until he understands that his selfish habits don’t get him what he really wants and until he makes the appropriate changes. Although the movie may be a bit annoying, there is a lesson – continue to practice and make changes until you get it right, anything less isn’t worth keeping.
As a potter, I know that in order to make better pots, I must make a lot of pots. By practicing and making changes, potters develop a foundation of technical skills out of which more creative and innovative pots can be made. No matter how wonderful or authentic an idea is, if you don’t have the basic skills to execute it, you will not be able to create it. Visions and ideas are only tangible when they are manifested. So maybe Groundhog Day should be a national holiday for everyone pursuing excellence because repetition is the key to mastery.