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What does it feel like to be wrong… It feels like being right

coyote realising he has run off the clifI was watching a TED presentation on being wrong, and liked the road runner analogy used. Basically what it feels like to be wrong is like in Loony Toons where the coyote chases the road runner right off the cliff, but the coyote keeps running in the air until he realises he is in the air. He then falls.

Because we live life in the present tense we are always living in the belief that we are right. Therefore being wrong feels like being right. Realising your wrong feels different.

But what can you do with this new found perspective? I thought this was a good analogy to go along with Paul Saffo’s Mantra “Strong Opinions Weakly Heard”.

Paul explains it well here: “my mantra for this process is “strong opinions, weakly held.” Allow your intuition to guide you to a conclusion, no matter how imperfect — this is the “strong opinion” part. Then –and this is the “weakly held” part– prove yourself wrong. Engage in creative doubt. Look for information that doesn’t fit, or indicators that pointing in an entirely different direction. Eventually your intuition will kick in and a new hypothesis will emerge out of the rubble, ready to be ruthlessly torn apart once again. You will be surprised by how quickly the sequence of faulty forecasts will deliver you to a useful result.” http://www.saffo.com/journal/entry.php?id=898 

I don’t like the use of the words right and wrong when talking about design, its too black and white. But criticism of decisions and designs can bring up our defences of not wanting to be “wrong”, so next time your being challenged keep your strong opinions weakly held remembering you could be the coyote.

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