My freshman year of college, I watched a documentary called “Man on Wire” all about a tightrope walker/rebellious artist, Philipe Petit. In 1974, Petit along with an eclectic band of co-conspirators committed “the artistic crime of the century” when Petit walked a tightrope strung between the World Trade Center towers in New York.
It was also one of those rare moments where a piece of art or an object or a person changes the way you think forever. Where something becomes a deep influence on you.
What was this deep influence? The sense of daring? The artist’s wish to push himself? Nope. The thing that has stayed with me for 5 years was a little innocuous comment made somewhere in the film where someone (not even sure if it was Petit) was talking about the act of tightrope walking. To paraphrase, it was something like, “in tightrope walking, the most important steps are the last two steps. You haven’t made it until you’ve taken those last two steps.”
Every time I catch myself getting frustrated with a project and being tempted to fudge something just a little, I think of that idea: the most important steps are the last two steps.
I am at a point in my Making where I want to be seriously honing my skills. I want to elevate my effort from “DIY - er” to “craftsperson.” This isn’t easy for me - a lot of the time I just want a project where precision, patience, and attention to detail aren’t that necessary.
But to really improve and grow I need to take the time to make the last two steps count; to go from good to great.
So, here’s the bottom line: I want to challenge you, as we are challenging ourselves at Make, Do, and Mend, to hone your skills and take the Last 2 Steps.
Pick a skill you already have and push yourself to grow more into it or pick a skill you’ve only attempted halfheartedly and take the time needed to take the Last 2 Steps to make it truly your best work.
This kind of thinking can be applied to any type of making, at any skill level. Join us in taking the Last 2 Steps! Check in on the blog and on social media every Thursday to see how we’ve been walking the tightrope wire to being craftsmen. As always, Make, Do, and Mend is a community of Makers, so please share your own Last 2 Steps with us on the forum or on social media #Last2Steps
In a nutshell the Last 2 Steps is:
The decision to respect the journey to true craftsmanship; not to give up on quality when the end is in sight; choose skill not speed.