Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's ok to be wrong


I had an interesting chat with my wife just a moment ago about whether the school kills creativity or not. The discussion was a bit biased because a lot of her professional success is because of her education while I find only little or no connection between my professional success and my education. Ultimately the situation passed the threshold of me writing a blog post about it.

At the beginning of the age of industrialization society needed "education factories" to produce educated professionals to serve the need of different industries. Doctors, engineers, carpenters, whatnot were produced by volumes and for a while it worked quite well. But as we stepped into the age of information society where all information is within the reach of everyone, the need for these "factory schools" has grown highly questionable. But no matter how questionable, they are still considered to be one of the cornerstones of modern society.

To book backlog
The dispute between my wife and I began from Ken Robinson's TED talk "How schools kill creativity". She considered it to be just blatant provocation while I focused on one key point in it: The conventional schooling system doesn't allow mistakes, which leads to the death of creativity. Now, as a tester and a passionate miner of information I make mistakes all the time. Trying things out and making mistakes is one of the most important things, if not THE most important thing in my work. During my 16 years of school only rarely I was encouraged to make mistakes. The more I drifted into technical subjects the more this fact became true. I don't know why, but it happened. During my undergraduate years I tried to cling to my last shreds of creativity by making songs and drawing, but I was but a shadow of my former self.

These ten years in software testing have helped me to gain my creativity back. I'm fortunate enough to have highly creative people around me. They have helped me and for that I'm ever so grateful. They have opened my eyes to all the possibilities and they encourage me to try out, and ultimately make mistakes. People often say that it's ok to make mistakes, but as such I consider it to be quite irresponsible. Many of us have been "factory schooled" and by just saying "it's ok to make mistakes" is like offering that famous red pill to someone who's allergic to it.

The point of this blog post is to offer something more than just "it's ok to make mistakes" rant. When you understand that the repercussions of making mistakes are not that big of a deal, you start making more of them. And you start learning from them. By trying things out and seeing what doesn't work you get a better understanding of things that do work. Deeper and wider understanding. You find the limits of yourself and what you know, and you can start to push these limits further. The life that works for you has not been written by anyone yet. Explore and write your own story.

What I want you to do - this has helped me quite a bit - is to try something in which you'll propably fail. It can be anything. If you feel uncomfortable, take a small step. Close your eyes and navigate through your house. After few bumps in the head you'll feel more relaxed and focused, and you will make it. Go sing karaoke (something I've never done). Fail. Fail big. Next time you'll do better. Sketch. Draw. Dance. Play. Do anything in which you'll propable fail and learn from it. Make mistakes and learn from them. You'll grow more skillful, wiser and more creative by the minute. And successful. Guaranteed.



PS: I hope I didn't sound like one of those self-improvement a**holes. If so, I'm sorry. :)

PSS: My wife won the argument. :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow such a productive discussion that lead to a constructive argument and criticism. That’s what we all need to understand and acknowledge that it’s okay if we are wrong or disagree. Not everything is meant to be right.