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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Have a da Vinci glow: Be Willing to be Wrong

"The moon is covered in water," said the child. 

"Preposterous," said the teacher. "You are just an ignorant little child, how could you think that?" 

And thus, the teacher has just killed the inquisitive nature of...

Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known.

Although he was wrong about the moon being covered in water, he first theorized that the moon was reflecting light. It is now called the "da Vinci glow."

More of us need that "da Vinci glow"
If we create a lot of theories, we're going to be partially or completely wrong much of the time.

If you're worried about being right all the time, don't invent. Don't theorize. Don't experiment. Then, we can sit in our little room all along and do nothing with our lives. But even then, we'll find that although we were never criticized for being wrong that we were, in fact, WRONG. Because we wasted our life afraid of making a mistake we did nothing. We thought nothing. We shared nothing.

If I'm wrong some of the time, it means I'm stretching myself. I'm trying something new. We need to expect to be wrong and admit it but we cannot let FEAR keep us from making theories.

There is such a thing as living in a culture that is so unforgiving about wrong-ness that it never innovates or invents anything new. Steve Jobs is revered but he failed a lot. Leonardo da Vinci did too.

To heck with being right, I want to be wrong. At least some of the time. If I'm never wrong, I'm not thinking enough. If I'm always right, I'm lying, because no one is always right!

As for me, I'm happy to fail. And that, my friends, is my BIG little thing #5 that will improve education: Be willing to be wrong. (You don't have to like it but accept it as part of being inventive and get over yourself.)

Photo credit: Big Stock
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