When Being Wrong Is Right

Life is about taking chances. Pretty much everything we do is built on a weighted sub-conscious thought about the likelihood of the thing we’re doing is either going to kill us or injury us. It’s weighted because as we grow from children to adults we store experiences and our brains use those as shortcuts to speed up decision making. Image, if when try to cross the road each time, our brains were consciously making the decisions about the traffic, the likelihood of a car appearing before we’ve had chance to cross; or driving a car – what was difficult when we learnt – soon becomes automatic.

The problem is that in many aspects of life this hinders us – especially for those of us who use our creativity in ways to support ourselves. “People won’t like this because it’s not mainstream art”, “my customers won’t buy this because it’s too contemporary”.

The difference as we grow from child to adult is that we lose that ability to just create with no fear of right and wrong. It gets beaten out of us as we learn – we are forced to learn the stereotypes that help our society function. We learn that when we paint, we’re not supposed to go over the lines, when we do maths, there’s a particular set way to do division (usually based on what some board somewhere thinks is the latest fad in education methods). We become homogenised to a person that thinks and talks like everyone else around us.

The upshot of this as photographers is that in the main all we do is copy trends. We see one person do something and it looks cool, so we copy it. Then two more people copy us and before we know it, that seed of creativity that started so uniquely is ubiquitous. We get concerned, because for those of us who make our living from photography, we fear clients or customers not liking our work. We become afraid to make mistakes and try new ideas. So we stick with the mainstream ideas. Yet, by not exercising our own creativity our businesses are ultimately doomed to fail – especially now that consumer cameras are pretty much able to take useable pictures in pretty much the same scenarios take were only the realm of professionals a few years ago.

If you’re afraid to be wrong you’ll never come up with an idea that does work. Our society treats failure badly – it’s not treated as a learning experience – it’s treated as something not to be repeated. Yet, across the board of scientists, sportsmen/women, business owners and some of the world’s greatest thnikers – they all succeeded because they were wrong multiple times before they were right.

Being wrong and making mistakes isn’t bad – it’s a sign that you are making progress and doing what you need to do to progress in your career, the trick is not to be wrong in the same way twice.

Make mistakes, learn and give every idea it’s chance – you may be right.

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