I have been thinking along these lines for some time, but the speaker really develops and justifies the idea very well. Perhaps I am one of only a few who doesn't improve as much as I should or could for the reasons he talks about, but I doubt it. Generally speaking, when I go into my shop I want to make something and I want it to be the best work I am capable of. I am in the performance zone. As the speaker explains, that isn't the best way to learn. For that you need to move into the learning zone, where the goal isn't to make something but to learn something, to develop your skills and capability. The end result is not a thing, it's a skill. That's hard for me. When I am asked over dinner what I did in the shop today, I don't really want to say, "I really accomplished a lot by practicing sawing more closely to a line. I don't have anything to show for it because I threw away all the pieces I used." Who wants to read a blog post about that?
I am going to try to motivate myself to spend 20% of my shop time during which I specifically commit to throwing away whatever I produce because I am trying to develop a skill and want to focus solely on that. I don't know if I can do this but I think it is essential if I am to improve much more. I have gotten to the point where I have enough skill that I can make pretty nice pieces that will be used and admired, but I am not getting much better for the clear reason that I am spending most of my time in the performance zone. I tend to fall back on the techniques I know I can execute well. After all, who wants to try something unfamiliar or that you know you aren't really proficient at on a workpiece made from expensive wood which you have already spent hours on? I admit that I do this.
I think most of us know intuitively that what this guy is saying is right. The challenge is to be disciplined enough to act on it. The sad thing is that when I actually do it, it is very satisfying.
I'd be interested to know if I am the only one that suffers from this failing.