Most artists discard work that they're not satisfied with. Even though someone less discerning might be prepared to buy the piece destined for the scrapheap, it's the producer who has the final say. That's where the term, 'break your own pottery' came from. You don't have to be a potter, of course, to break your own pots. Artists of all persuasions are usually their own biggest critics and are prepared to bin stuff they're not satisfied with. I remember that my editor would 'red ink' so much of my writing that it was often easier for me to call it quits and start again.
But breaking your own pottery need not apply to the world of art only. As we age, aspects of our lifestyles may have to be changed, too. Take for example food (diet). Food is one the 5Fs for adding years to your life and life to your years. (The others are Fitness, Future, Friendship, and Finances.) Too bad that you might like deep-fried food and that it's been prepared by the world's greatest chefs. It's unhealthy and shouldn't be a regular part of your diet.
Despite what others may say about your healthy lifestyle and your appearance, you may have to discard bits - deep-fried stuff, alcohol, sweets, or whatever. Only you, perhaps with the help of your medico, will know what parts of your pottery has to be tossed away. Living a longer, better life will inevitably necessitate breaking your own pottery.
Even if you're in perfect running order, the search for continuous improvement is ongoing. And sometimes to progress, you have to cast off bits 'n' pieces. Back when he was CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch used to make redundant the bottom 10% of his workforce and replace them with others who might be more suited to the GE way of doing things. A local accountant lets it be known that the bottom-third of his clients will be replaced each year with new clients who may help to grow his practice in the direction he wants it to go.
And so it is with us. The old cliche, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' misses the point: breaking your own pots is essential, if progress (living longer, better) is the order of the day.
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