The Incredible Power of a Good Mistake

Sometimes I wonder why. Why can’t I get the motor running when designing a game? Why can’t I seem to motivate myself to sharpen my artistic abilities? Why?

Let’s talk about art for a second. I like to sketch, or at least I used to more so. Now, it seems to be a struggle. Back when I was in middle school, I used to churn out sketches like no one’s business in my spare moments between homework and what have you. They weren’t masterpieces, but they were something. I was building my art skills.

Fast foward to now. I’ve improved considerably since then, in my opinion. Yet drawing seems to have lost its appeal in some ways. I’m frustrated by my inability to get the detail and refinement I want. I’ve gotten much better since middle school, yet why do I become so impatient and irritated with all of it?

I think its because I’ve underestimated the power of mistakes.

We want to be good NOW, right? We want to be able to produce the results we want sooner than later at times. We try to bypass the hard knocks, thinking perhaps that our skills have become strong enough to merit a no-mistake work flow. That’s complete and total nonsense.

Oh sure, maybe we’ll make 100 mistakes before we program our game just right or 100 bad sketches before our main character is right where we want him to be. But that’s 100 more experiences under your belt. You’re building a repertoire of experience and know-how, if you’re smart enough to actually learn from such things and not disregard them as uselessness. And for me, its time to get back to doing a little more trial-and-error. Instead of visualizing a perfect scenario, navigate the perils of twenty bad ones.

Don’t just sit there. Be doing something. You’ll learn a lot more from that than doing nothing.

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