Context is...
A Second Coat of Paint


TL;DR: Reflection is important, so is what you do from it.

  • Originally Written: 19-Sep-2021

  • Word Count: 453

  • Read Time: 1.5 minutes


When we go back over something we have done before, in an attempt to improve upon our initial design, we are iterating on an idea.

Whether it be a second coat of paint, reformatting a spreadsheet, or editing an email.

When we do this, not only do we give ourselves permission to see the holes in our original thoughts but we also bring our ideas into greater resolution and detail.

I don't know about you, but I can write a shitty essay.

Or two... or ten... maybe even thirty.

That's okay. All part of the creative process.

What isn't okay is taking our thoughts at face value and assuming how we've translated them in front of us is really how we intended.

What I mean here is that sometimes our perfectionism can get in the way of doing things that are truly great, if we just gave it a second thought in a different context.

If we just looked back over our intentions with a fine-tooth comb or a detailing brush, maybe we'd find some flaws.

But reflection isn't something we like to do, lest we err on the edge of rumination.

I'm not saying we should pick ourselves apart here or look for reasons to debase our own ideas from the start.

I'm saying we need context to our ideas in order to think of them as 'right'.


Our ideas need to see the light of day in the form of exposure to another person or exposure to ourselves in a completely different context.


Our ideas are perfect in a vacuum, but no plan survives contact with time.

Our plans must be put into action so we can see the results for what they are, but then there eventually comes to the step of iterating.

We want to be only as accurate as we need to be in order to be consistent enough that we can get to our goals. Different goals are going to require different levels of accuracy, but they all require consistency.

This consistency is important if we are to survive what is required to self-innovate. To rise above our challenges.

Or... it's at least important enough to ensure we can see and reach our goals with clarity, resolution, and focus.

It's not about the big leaps and bounds.

Sometimes, all the time, it's about the small things.

Lend yourself to the small things in life and you'll find the details you have been missing time and again, with each stroke.

Maybe then will you find the right brush to use for the situation at hand.

Or at least realize which ones are the wrong ones to use.

Either way, you'll learn something.

Happy painting.