Creativity is Allowing Yourself to Make Mistakes

American artist and writer, Scott Raymond Adams, was born in June of 1957. Although his most famous creation, the Dilbert comic strip, can be seen daily in the local paper, he also stays busy as the author of various books of satire, business commentaries, and philosophy, usually seen through the eyes of the ever vigilant Dilbert.

In his book, The Dilbert Principle, Scott Adams makes a rather profound statement.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Where does the artist start? How long does it take to get from idea to canvas or instrument or poem? How many mistakes are made before the poet gets it ‘just right’?

There are two phrases that struggle with each other in daily life. We tell the child to color inside the lines and yet we tell the adult to think outside the box. We can not have it both ways. How many mistakes were called to M C Escher’s attention before they stopped calling them mistakes and started calling them art? The child who colors in the lines, or outside of them, and the adult who thinks outside the box, or maybe inside of it, are both expressing creativity. The mistakes that are made sometimes lead to amazing results becoming a rare work of art, a beautiful motif in a piece of music, or a refrain in a moving poem. Be creative; color outside the lines; think outside the box; look for the art that moves full blown into consciousness as a result of the mistake gone right.

4 Responses to “Creativity is Allowing Yourself to Make Mistakes”

  1. Casey Says:

    Great post, Dave. Such a difficult lesson to learn, but you’ve stated it simply and clearly here. I love the phot – someone you know?

  2. a brush with color Says:

    Wonderful post, and lovely photo of a child creating. Oh if only we could all approach it as freely as this sweet little one!

  3. David Says:

    @Casey: Yes, life is full of contradictions such as this one. I do not know the little boy. I agree with you. It is a lovely photo.

  4. Jav Says:

    @a brush with color: … yes the kid is creating … but he is already being told how he has to color it. 🙁

    I like this photo because the boy seems to be saying … I DO NOT WANT TO COLOR INSIDE THE LINES!!! LET ME COLOR IT MY WAY!!!


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