My personal inspiration for creativity, Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, told a story in a recent podcast about his son learning how to use a certain tool for the first time. He decided that instead of just teaching him how to use the tool, he would give him a bit of life wisdom, a bit of reality. “Get this idea clear in your head”, he told him while he was teaching him to use it, “You’re going to screw up. At least twice, before getting it right. So be prepared to screw up. It’s part of the trip.”
“How do you know how to approach a project without making a big mistake from the beginning?”, a fan had asked him. “The truth is, I always screw up one way or another before getting it right”, he replied. “The difference is I do most of my mistakes in my head before starting for real. It’s an advantage of having experience in it. But you HAVE TO make mistakes before getting it right. If you start a project, build it and finish it without screwing up once, something went horribly wrong.”
I screwed up a part of my YF-19’s leg last time (and happily went on to google how to make a “flipping table” emoticon with ASCII) while feeling a mixture of anger, self-hate, emotion, excitement and, whadayaknow, happiness. It was weird. I mean, it’s a small mistake, one easily solved. No real reason to be angry or self-hating about it. But why did I feel happy I had made a mistake and had to go back and rebuild a whole section of the leg? Because otherwise, I wouldn’t have learned how to fix something like that. I felt happy I had learned something new. And just like Adam’s son, I was on the right track, since I had already screwed up twice. (or thrice, if you count that time I opened the landing gear bay doors and saved the project)
Isn’t it exciting that I’m on the way to make more mistakes? Some big ones, mostly small ones, but each one is freaking valuable. I can’t wait to get into new uncharted territory, like the rigging of this baby!
That said, this is the last post of the year. I’m off to some quality holiday away with my wife and a well deserved time away from computers and Internet. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody! See ya in January!