On Taking Risks

Kathryn Schultz author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error: The Meaning of Error in an Age of Certainty, talks about the conditioning we experience with regard to getting things wrong and our view of the type of people who do so.  As she points out, St Augustine said ‘I err, therefore I am.’  She argues for the rediscovery of wonder, the stepping outside of the terrified space of rightness and acknowledge that ‘maybe I am wrong.’

Tim Harford through a series of examples shows that ‘disruptions’ can lead to success.

Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett created his best selling album using a piano with defects that limited his scope;  using an awkward typeface slows the student down and encourages reflectivity;  Psychologist Shelley Carson found that students working with distraction produced better outcomes;  psychologist Catherine Philips found that adding a stranger to a mix creates awkwardness and doubt but a 50% better outcome, than friends working together;  Brian Eno used his randomly selected Oblique Strategy cards when working with David Bowie on his Heroes album.  Adding randomness, things that shouldn’t work, can produce a better outcome.

Richard St John gave a condensed Ted talk on the 8 secrets of success:

Work hard, but have fun.

Be good at what you do, through practice.

Focus on one thing.

Push through shyness and self-doubt.

Serve.

Add value.

Generate ideas.

Persist through failure.

Listen to your mother!  Not sure about this one!

Reflecting on this unexpected disruption to my day, walking the path well trod will create nothing new.  Two  key issues have been surfacing recently, fear, self-doubt, shining a torch in the dark corners; and letting go (of what?) and acknowledging who I am.

Keep digging!

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