Friday, April 11, 2008

Make A Mistake Today!

This quote arrived at the bottom of an email this week:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams

I love the idea because it's true and it has the potential to take away the destructive performance pressure so many of us put on ourselves.

Having read this item and pondered it, I then went looking for the identity of the to-me mysterious Scott Adams. Turns out he's famous: the creator of Dilbert.
He's also quite an aphorist. Brainy Quote has a long list of good sayings from him, ranging from wry to inspiring.

Here's another sample from the inspirational end of his spectrum: "Most success springs from an obstacle or failure. I became a cartoonist largely because I failed in my goal of becoming a successful executive."

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Debra w said...

Peggy, this is a very interesting perspective. It reminds me of my Dad who was working on an invention to prevent infections from becoming a problem in individuals who have Diabetes. He came up with a long handled, lighted mirror with which people could examine their feet. Turned out that he realized that the product could be used to examine the undersides of military vehicles to inspect for explosive devices. From there, he went on to discover other inventions that would help in protecting our service people.

While he thought that he would be solving one problem for people with Diabetes, he happened upon something completely unexpected. One of the reasons that I usually do not take things at their initial face value.

I hope that you are having a better week.


Peggy Payne said...

What a fascinating guy your dad is! Was an engineer? A full-time inventor? What kind of other stuff did he work on?

I'll bet his experience and attitude toward invention was a terrific model of following an interesting idea to see where it leads.

It's so important to be able to let curiousity keep on leading, even when the I'm-just-wasting-time-I-should-be-running-errands thoughts start to kick in.

Debra w said...

Hi Peggy,

Yes, my dad is a very interesting man! He has reinvented himself more times than I can even count, made and lost a million dollars a couple of times(thank goodness he has done well recently, and is keeping it, this time!) He has held executive positions, traveled back and forth to Saudi Arabia many times(as a Jew, with a fake birth certificate), and has even done some "covert" types of jobs which he still won't tell me about. He took over my grandfather's exterminating business and ran around getting rid of bugs and rodents, and then he built a "better" mouse-trap which he sold off to a major cooperation. He spent that money, wrote a book which was never published, developed a product to remove cellulite which never really took off. That's most of what I can think of right now, but he has lived a very colorful life. The one thing about my dad is that he NEVER gives up. If something fails, he just moves on to the next thing. He can look at a product and figure out how to market it in new ways. He is now doing very well with terrorism prevention, which is something that he had no knowledge of or experience with. One of the things that he always taught me is to "always look like you know where you are going" and nobody will question you.

You are right. Following a line of curiosity is always a good thing to do. My dad is living proof of that. He is curious and persistent, a combination which is difficult to beat.

Where do you think that you learned to be so imaginative and creative? I know that you said that you had a very vivid imagination as a child, but what kept you on that route? Did you always know that you were going to be a writer?

Have restful evening!


Peggy Payne said...

Fascinating story he has. The cellulite thing especially catches my eye.

My first thought of being a writer was in the negative. In the third grade I had the thought: Well, I could never be a writer because everything I write sounds like me and not like real writing.

I later learned that that's called a voice.

In the 8th grade I got serious about it.

Debra w said...


Yes, the cellulite gadget was quite interesting. I actually really loved the moisturizer that went with it, but as women know, nothing really gets rid of cellulite.

I love that you realized that you could write when you were in eighth grade. Were you encouraged to write? I discovered my love of writing when I was in sixth grade. A very encouraging teacher inspired me to write whenever I got the chance. In tenth grade, I shared a book of poems that I wrote with a teacher whom I admired. She critiqued it for me, and also encouraged me to continue writing. Unfortunately, when I was in college, some of my professors reeled me in and told me that I was writing too creatively. That changed my style in some ways and made me self-conscious. I am just finding my voice again, now.

Best of luck with your teaching!

Peggy Payne said...

"Too creatively"? That's shocking.
Malpractice! I'll bet you weren't "following instructions."

And, yes, I was encouraged to write, after I'd started writing a bit. Both my parents and teachers were very supportive.

In college I had a writing teacher, though, who was a pretty rough critic. The timing for that was good for me. I needed criticism at that point. And she didn't tell me I was being "too creative."