Yesterday as I was working on figuring out the color of my parachute (which I still don't know btw), I shared with my friend Kristina my "Principle of the Second Coat." Obviously I've blogged on this before, but I'm beginning to think it is more far reaching than one would first anticipate.
The Principle of the Second Coat is more than try, try, try again. Try, try, try again anticipates failure. You've tried and failed so you try again until you do not fail. The Principle of the Second Coat assumes a high level of competence the first time. I do wonderful first coats. It's just that as wonderful as that first experience might be it won't do the job. And the next time you do whatever, things will go much more smoothly and just in general better. You know what to anticipate. You know what landmines lie in wait. You know what order to best approach things. You just generally do better. The first time wasn't bad. It was just like all other first times.
In a different direction, the second coat is not about you. The second coat does not necessarily require you to change your thinking or action--just to go through that thought process or action again. No matter how lovely you apply that first coat, more than likely you'll need a second coat. You didn't paint badly. That's just the way it is. As such, there are many things in life that just need to be experienced a second time. You should always teach a second year. The second year of grad school goes much better than the first. The second time you cook things turn out better.
I don't know if everyone should live by The Principle of the Second Coat but I highly recommend it for competent people who just don't see immediate results and perfectionists, in other words me.