One Simple Thing
You hear the one simple thing phrase so often it has become a meme. The idea being that there is one simple thing that can make you do amazingly well at a task, or make you a genius overnight. It’s a compelling idea, which is probably why you see it so often in online advertising.
I’ve been working to get really good at pizza-making at home lately. Recently, we had some friends over for dinner and one of them asked me what the trick was. I knew immediately what it was, but felt I had to digress before I could explain.
Photography: All About the Light
A few years back, I was getting really interested in photography. I asked a friend on Facebook what her trick was. How did she get such fantastic pictures with remarkable consistency? Her answer threw me off.
“It’s all about the light.”
Well, yeah, sure it is. That’s textbook photography. Everyone knows that. The art of light and darkness… yadda yadda yadda. The thing is: it’s absolutely true.
And as I began looking more closely at how people were taking photos, I noticed that they really did seem to focus disproportionately on the light; every piece of equipment was judged on how well it behaved in the light and people with even mediocre equipment could find just the right spot in a room and take a killer photograph.
It was, indeed, all about the light. Sure, you might spend years really getting good at how to use the light, but once you realize how key the light is, and focus all your energy on that one aspect, you’re 80% of the way there.
Pizza: All About the Heat
When it comes to making good pizza at home, the trick is heat. It’s all about the heat. The heat is the one thing you will never have enough of, the one thing every bit of energy spent will pay off. I have a myriad of tricks to get the oven hot enough.
- Pizza stones aren’t good enough; pizza steels hold more heat.
- Push your oven as high as it will go, let it sit for an hour beforehand.
- If you have extra pizza stones, just leave ‘em in there, they’ll keep more heat.
- If you don’t have a pizza in the oven, leave it on broil.
- If you’re not cooking the pizza on the topmost shelf, you’re plain old doing it wrong.
Everything else you do is secondary. You can buy great pre-made sauce for cheap. You can buy dough at the store to stretch out. You can put nothing on it but tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, and it can be amazing. Just so long as you have plenty of heat.
The truth is that you can pick just about any subject you love, study it the rest of your live, and never truly master it. But at the same time, there often really is One Simple Thing about that craft, vocation, or topic that is the key that will unlock the most rewarding aspects.
It might be light. It might be heat. It’s probably something obvious. You gotta find out what the one thing is.