Making mistakes out loud

A most useful blog post for developing my thinking about this blog serendipitously turned up a week or so into my blogging challenge. It is, appropriately, about serendipity. Roger Dennis, a self-described serendipity architect, has attempted to explain to his followers and critics why he spends his time designing serendipity, and quotes this piece from Wired:

The birth of Ushahidi is a perfect example of the power of public thinking and multiples. Okolloh could have simply wandered around wishing such a tool existed. Kobia could have wandered around wishing he could use his skills to help Kenya. But because Okolloh was thinking out loud, and because she had an audience of like-minded people, serendipity happened.

This is the motivating logic behind this blog. While 90% (if I’m optimistic) of what I write will be about sharing other people’s ideas and practicing my writing, the other 10% will be there to share new ideas and develop them into properly considered concepts. By sharing them publicly and, eventually, linking in with wider discussions, I’m helping to widen the pool of serendipity.

This idea’s particularly interesting when tied in with learning from mistakes. From BrainPickings:

The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them — especially not from yourself. Instead of turning away in denial when you make a mistake, you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which in a way they are. … The trick is to take advantage of the particular details of the mess you’ve made, so that your next attempt will be informed by it and not just another blind stab in the dark.

Blogging and other mistake sharing – especially in an environment like the internet where a good/interesting idea can be shared in seconds – takes this idea of making mistakes to a whole new level. Those who do not learn from history have always been doomed to repeat it, but now we have access to literally billions of other histories, rather than the limited set that were selected by the historians and storytellers of centuries past. That makes this an exciting time to be making mistakes, and an even more exciting time to be learning from them.

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2 thoughts on “Making mistakes out loud

  1. People often worry about looking stupid. I like thinking out loud (blog posts, sketches, whatever), even if it means people see where I’m wrong. Especially if it means people see where I’m wrong, because then we can change my mind. And it turns out other people find it encouraging to see other people try things, go on detours, make mistakes, and learn from them, so it all works out. Keep on sharing! =)

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