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Sunday, April 3, 2016

It is OK to fail - that is what it takes to be creative and to learn!!

In our way of doing school, a theme has arisen from many people who think about education and what the modern school and education system should look like (and it is NOT what reality is!). In study after study, and anecdote after anecdote, the theme is we all need to be ready, willing and able to FAIL at things we try!!

However, as Sir Ken Robinson and many others have said (myself included), our present test-crazed way of doing school makes failure the worst thing a student can do. In order to be creative or to make a great discovery, one needs to try things over and over! Picasso did not whip out masterpiece after masterpiece - he had countless mediocre paintings and pieces of art in between - that is, countless 'failures.' The same for Mozart. The same for any notable and famous author, who was rejected dozens of times by publishers before finally getting a break, and then having to do numerous edits. And for the scientist or engineer, who have endless failed experiments or prototypes that need to be reworked and troubleshot. It is a rule of thumb that to become an expert at something, one needs 10,000 hours or experience and practice.

Check out this TED talk by Adam Grant, who has noted three key traits of creative people: i) their willingness to procrastinate, at least a bit, in order to refine an idea or to give themselves time to think about other ways of doing something; ii) fear and doubt...the most creative people are still humans, and we all have self-doubt and a fear of failure...however, the creative, successful person is more afraid of NOT TRYING, rather than just being afraid of being wrong; and iii) every creative person has countless failures before getting it right (you must accept the fact that everyone's first draft or attempt at something will almost certainly not be the best way of doing it!).

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