Why getting things wrong can be right…

Edison wasn't wrong about the lightbulb, he just took the steps to make it right.

No-one likes being told they are wrong. Right and wrong are two sides of a spinning coin. Why would I choose wrong when I am in an industry where I am paid and praised for being right?


For me being wrong is not being right…confused yet?

It’s also very easy to confuse wrong with its more serious sibling ‘mistake’. Granted, there is some cross-over, but for me a mistake is more serious. There’s no coming back… it’s more difficult to right a mistake.

Mistakes are like typos. Typos like Penguin Australia’s decision to pulp over 7,000 copies of its cookbook The Pasta Bible when it was printed with an unusual addition for its recipe of tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto. It called for “salt and freshly ground black people”. Um…black pepper. That type of mistake just turns my stomach….

No, being wrong gives you the understanding of what being right is. It’s the process where understanding why your original idea is not right gives you the opportunity to learn why.

Head scratching, frustration, denial and finally acceptance are part of that journey, but your understanding in making a wrong, right will make you more committed and confident in your solution.

Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked: “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied: “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

I love that quote. Edison did have 999 problems but the lightbulb wasn’t one. He was just wrong each time. This allowed him to learn, understand, refine his answer until he had the right solution.

At Happy Creative, we provide an environment that explores wrong ideas to give us the understanding of what the right idea is. It narrows and clarifies our thinking and provides us with the knowledge and understanding to give our clients the right solutions.

Any one that tells you that they are always right is wrong.

James Chantler is a creative thinker and Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk  

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