Monday, February 6, 2012

A Quote on Why We Need to Make More Mistakes

 "The book Art and Fear brings us the story of a pottery teacher who tells half his class they'll be graded solely on the quantity of the work they produce. He'll even use a scale to weigh their output and determine their grade. Fifty pounds of pots would rate an A, for example. The other half would be graded on quality and need only produce one pot - a perfect one - to get an A.

"'The works of highest quality,' the authors reported, 'were all produced by the group being graded for quantity... while they were busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the quality group had sat theorising about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.'

"I see the pottery metaphor play out at conferences. Some speakers are buttoned up, flawless, measured, and practiced, with an expert-focused answer for everything.  They don't risk much - or ultimately - give much. They are too involved in relentless self-monitoring, creating the perfect pot. Others learn as much from the people they are speaking to - they give and they take, they ride the wave that is in the room at the time, not the one they hoped might be there or the one they planned against as some do; instead, they stumble over new insights and acknowledge the stumble. They co-create meaning with the people in the room, they are subject-focused - they make a lot of pots, taking me along for the ride, letting me see myself in their story." - from Life is a Verb, by Patty Digh


Anonymous said...

Wow. powerful story.

Annie said...

Makes you think, doesn't it? I wonder how many things I don't do because I'm too afraid to fail, or that I won't be "good enough"... I think it's time to shake off that fear!