I just finished watching a TED talk by Ken Robinson, entitled “How Schools Kill Creativity.” It was a very interesting and very funny talk. In it he says, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

And this got me thinking: Am I prepared to be wrong?

(Well, am I? Probably not.)

How much risk am I willing to take to do something different or new?

(How much risk? Mostly none.)

Am I willing to fall on my face in front of others? (Metaphorically speaking, that is. Literally, I know the answer is definitely “no.”)

(Hmmm…nope.)

I like being right as much as the next person, perhaps more so. (Although, I suppose that depends somewhat on the next person.) I like having right answers, getting good grades, and being the person who doesn’t mess up. I hate taking a risk on a big project and then stepping back and thinking, “Wow, that sucks.” This leads me to being “creatively safe.” I use my creativity within bounds that I feel pretty sure will be generally accepted and liked, including by me.

But, I’m beginning to realize this is a problem. It is only through taking risks, coming up with some really bad ideas, and continuing to try that real innovation and unique and wonderful things are made.

Do you ever play it “creatively safe”? What would you do if you didn’t?