The Importance of Being Wrong
In professional relationships I like to tell people, “I reserve the right to be wrong.” Originally this was a simple ego check; a way to let people know that I take responsibility for my errors as well as successes. Since everyone makes mistakes, please allow me the opportunity to fix mine. Let’s identify the problem — even if I am the source of it — so that we can ultimately get it right. But identifying my points of failure is taking new meaning.
I heard a piece on the radio about the Ikea Effect. In brief: when we invest our time and effort into something, we often become enamored with it. The pride of I made this threatens good decision making if we become so attached to it that we can no longer see things objectively. As a recovering shade tree mechanic, nacent “maker” and proud Do-It-Yourself-er I run the risk of being blinded by my own handywork. Does this microphone actually sound better because I modified it, or do I simply love using it because I am emotionally invested? Is my new workflow really the best choice for this project, or does my time spent creating it bias me?
Some of my most valued relationships are with people who will listen to my “elevator pitch” for something I am creating. I can get better results if I’m open to hearing the flaws instead of simply getting a pat on the back. And helping me is no small task. These people have to be willing to listen to my thoughts, bring some knowledge to the discussion, and tell me honestly about the parts that don’t jive. Inviting criticism isn’t fun. Or easy. But one of the reasons I like having conversations with other audio people is the opportunity to tease out the good from the bad. If I spent too long assembling that bookshelf, I may overlook my fairly obvious mistakes. I need folks who will ask, “Is it supposed to be like that?”
See also: Hammer Everything, an exploration of how tools influence decision making.