February 13, 2009

Are you prepared to be wrong?

For the five people in the world who haven't yet seen this video, I want to share Sir Ken Robinson's message on creativity (and the lack of) in schools. Sir Ken is a brilliant speaker and quite the comedian. This is a thought-provoking and entertaining presentation.

His main theme is that "We are educating people out of their creative capacities."

I especially want you to pay attention to this message: "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original."

He talks about how children start out with no fear of being wrong or making mistakes: "Kids will take a chance. If they don't know, they'll have a go. They're not frightened of being wrong."

As children grow up, they become ingrained with the fear of making mistakes, and when this fear moves in, creativity moves out.

The implications for us as grownups and speakers are clear: We fear making mistakes, we fear being wrong, we fear looking foolish, and as a result our presentations are boring, ordinary and safely "within the lines." We do what everyone else is doing for fear of standing out, drawing attention to ourselves and possibly being shot down in the process.

Take heed of Sir Ken's message. If you want to make a difference in the world, or even in just one person in one audience, you can't give people the same ol' same ol'. Safe is not interesting, it's not engaging, and it's certainly not life-changing.

If you can't see the embedded video, click here to go to the TED site.

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Molly said...

Great video. Thanks for sharing this!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for stopping by, Molly! Glad you enjoyed the video!

Richard I. Garber said...

If you want to come up with anything original, then you have to be prepared to be wrong (to fail), not once or twice but THOUSANDS OF TIMES. That’s just the flip side of your previous post about 1000 Victories.

Mike Fisch said that if you want to achieve anything new and great you must make 1,000 mistakes.

Bob Sutton just recently pointed out that it took James Dyson 5127 failed prototypes to come up with his vacuum cleaner.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for adding to the discussion, Richard! We don't have to like failure and mistakes, but we have to embrace them as part of learning and improvement!

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