Mistakes and fun

22.02.2016 |

Episode #4 of the course The random word doodle: boost your creativity and exercise your mind by Rich Armstrong


So the reason you shouldn’t use a pencil is that doodling random words is not a piece of art. Sometimes you do create doodles you’ll be proud of, and sometimes you won’t. It’s not about perfection. It’s about kickstarting the creative process—and that means coming to terms with making mistakes. Sometimes mistakes will lead to profound realizations, and sometimes they’ll just make it easier to go with the flow. I encourage you to stop seeing mistakes as bad things, but rather as something that can fuel discovery, random creativity, and fun. Perhaps even start with a mistake!

Most children make mistakes—a lot of them. And they have fun. A lot of it, too. And most adults don’t. Most adults are stressed out obeying rules and avoiding mistakes like the plague. It may be because most adults have been through school, where they punish you for making mistakes. Or it may be because your job, and society as a whole, rewards compliance and punishes people for errors. Or it may be that there is a lot of pressure on adults to perform in all areas of their lives. Kids don’t have any pressure. They just do. They just create. They just have fun. A lot of adults don’t try anything new just in case they fail, and they see deviations from the norm as mistakes. Well, you fail more because you do not try. If you fail and it was fun and you learned something, then it’s not failure at all—it’s a step in your journey. Here are your random words for today, where you’re allowed to try new things and make mistakes:

1. Offscourings
2. Biflagellate
3. Madrigal
4. Extern
5. Exurbia
6. Calefaction
7. Pinguinus
8. Henbit
9. Etiology
10. Berserk

So try something a bit weird and wonderful with these words. Interpret them. Don’t take them literally. What else could it mean if it were in another situation? What play on words can you achieve? I’d like to see you posting something different in your project gallery today, even if it looks like a dog’s breakfast.

I normally draw the basic shape first and then add more detail, add a landscape, and then, if I have time, I add a bit of fluff and shading. It depends on your style and what you’re used to. But try different things. Vary your style and way of working. It’s a playground and a gym—you’re allowed to mess up! If you don’t allow yourself to try different approaches in playtime, how are you going to allow yourself different approaches in your work and in your life? Different approaches can lead to remarkable breakthroughs!

Oh yeah! Day 4 is done. And we’re only getting started with the practice. Remember, going to the gym for a week won’t give you the body of a Greek god, and neither will doodling random words after 4 days make you the most creative person on planet Earth. But you’re on your way! Well done!


Recommended book

“Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind” by Jocelyn K. Glei


Share with friends