Sturgeon’s Law states that “90% of everything is crud.”
Let that just sink in for a moment.
As a side note, I would rather have the word ‘crud’ replaced with ‘mediocre’ to be more realistic*. It isn’t that majority of stuff is crap, it’s just that it’s rather mediocre and if you take the time to really look into things, you would most likely be able to find something better.
Anyways, while this quote is in the context of science fiction, ‘everything’ referring to science fiction novels, this law can still be universally applied to practically any other field or group. This is all too obvious with music and literature for example.
So to me, this law gives me a sort of mission throughout my life: find that 10% and stick with it. You can think of it as a sort of mission to upgrade the quality of the things you own or the things you do in your free time.
This leads to another thing and that is the time and effort put into this search. Obviously, it’s not easy to do nor can it be done quickly. If I don’t like something or if I’m not sufficiently motivated by a certain category of a thing, then I’m not even going to bother searching for that 10%.
Movies are like that for me for example. I just don’t like most movies at all and I am not motivated enough to bother searching for that fraction of movies that are remotely decent, therefore, I don’t even bother with them. I don’t watch them nor do I care.
Music and books on the other hand motivate me enough to try to separate the wheat from the chaff. I have no problem spending a lot of time and effort listening or reading, then analyzing them, and then analyzing them some more to find the truly great compared to the merely ok.
Even if you might never find those upper echelons of quality in the given category, it’s still a great way to improve the overall quality of your life. This is definitely one of those laws to keep in mind and apply to just about everything you have.
So, for those of you who have a huge library of music, or a stockpile of CDs, or a collection of movies, or whatever other thing that this law can be applied to (video games, clothes, people, etc.), go through it and try to cut the things that are mediocre or just ok out of your life. Surround yourself with quality rather than quantity.
*Actually to truly be realistic, I’d say that 90% is still a bit too generous.