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ABCs of Creativity: Mistakes

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If you’re doing something that you know how to do, you might make a mistake. It doesn’t matter what the task is or how many times you’ve done it before, being human means that you make mistakes sometimes, even when you’re doing something you’re good at. Professional basketball player J.R. Smith dribbled out a clock when his team needed a score in the playoffs; he’s on a team with Lebron James. Smith made the mistake in spite of being an NBA player who was probably told by his teammates what was going to happen.

Creativity means you’re doing something new to you. If a pro player can make a mistake when he is doing something he’s been doing for years, imagine how much more likely it is that you’ll make a mistake doing something new. It’s going to happen. Accept it and then do something that will set you apart from others, learn from your mistake.

In creativity, mistakes are the stepping stones to better products, better hypotheses, and better results. As long as the mistake leads to learning something, it’s okay. You don’t have to make the same mistake twice, you can make new ones every day! Go try something new, and make your mistake so you can learn.

For more on creativity, order “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Get “Penguinate: Essays and Short Stories: Improve Your Creativity for a Better Life and World.” Pre-order “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”

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