Creativity and the Art of Making Mistakes

dilbert_principleI came across a quote about creativity and art that wonderfully illustrates the relationship between art, mistakes and learning. I had heard it before so I decided to do some digging to see to whom I should attribute it. I was surprised how frequently it was out there without attribution (sometimes misquoted). I guess some quotes simply take on a life of there own, huh?

Well after some searching, I tracked it down and it was originally made by Scott Adams in The Dilbert Principle. I have not read this book, but “Thanks!” goes out to Quote Investigator for discovering the source of the following quote (and inspiring me to get the book from my local library!):

Finally—and this is the last time I’m going to say it—we’re all idiots and we’re going to make mistakes. That’s not necessarily bad. I have a saying: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Keep your people fresh, happy, and efficient. Set a target, then get out of the way. Let art happen. Sometimes idiots can accomplish wonderful things.
— Scott Adams

I included this whole quote (versus only the popular bolded part) because I have been thinking about choice-based art education for awhile. Adams’ last paragraph struck home with regards to getting out of the way and letting art ‘happen’ versus feeling the need to control every aspect of the creation process.

For more about Scott Adams, visit here. To read more of his thoughts, visit his blog. And, of course, no one should ever not treat themselves to the wisdom that is Dilbert.

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