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Down to an Art

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We have all heard the expression 'you've got that down to an art' but what does it really mean? Is it simply a saying or does it have any truth to it? Expressions and sayings can have an interesting way of coming to be. Why is it that when a person does something that is done with great care, effort, time and patience others use art to gauge it by?

It's an expression used when a person does something to near perfection. Not only do they succeed to several degrees short of perfection but they are capable of doing it again as many times as they please. An expression not used to describe a one time achievement. Some may find it a curious saying but when you think about it, the more it makes sense. We shall start with the art perspective. Art is considered to be worth while, something done with precision, of the highest quality and is often referred to as perfection. What is it that we do to gain experience or just to get better at something? That's right, we practice. We work at it, change technique when required, skip some perhaps unnecessary step and refine the process. Artists are notorious for this. For the span of their lives they refine their process of art. Every single detail is important, connects with the others, builds upon the work and is given full attention. They take their process to a whole new level, a level of perfection. Nearly any type of trade or career choice that gives such a meticulous attention to detail is usually a prestigious one. Architects, chefs, professional photographers, clothing design gurus, landscapers, musicians, etc. All of these are the best of what they do and are also described as being, in one form or another, an art form. Artists were some of the first people to be credited with an exaggerated sense of attention to detail. Surely not the only ones but they are the ones that history remembers best. So from this memory the saying has come to be. Art is accepted in every genre of life without any negative attention from specific groups of society. In short, artists have no haters. Can any other trade or skill set say that? Not so much. Yet another reason art has sparked and been the inspiration behind this saying. Do you see now why the expression has used art as the comparative to perfection? It simply means 'what you've done you've done well.'

What have we learned here? Besides the obvious, that art is awesome. It's something to be held in one of the highest respects. So anything that is measured up to it or is critiqued as if it were an art is one of the highest compliments to receive. Should you ever receive it, remember not to take it lightly.


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