“Be Wrong As Fast As You Can”

An editor of New York Times Magazine, Hugo Lindgren, comes to terms with his sense of mediocrity and the constant pull of “putting pen to paper”:

I recently saw a Charlie Rose interview with John Lasseter, a founder of Pixar, about the creative process behind his movies. Pixar’s in-house theory is: Be wrong as fast as you can. Mistakes are an inevitable part of the creative process, so get right down to it and start making them. Even great ideas are wrecked on the road to fruition and then have to be painstakingly reconstructed. “Every Pixar film was the worst motion picture ever made at one time or another,” Lasseter said. “People don’t believe that, but it’s true. But we don’t give up on the films.”

Hugely successful people tend to say self-deprecating stuff like this when they go on “Charlie Rose.” But I heard something quite genuine in Lasseter’s remarks, an acknowledgment of just how deep into the muck of mediocrity a creative project can sink as it takes those first vulnerable steps from luxurious abstraction to unforgiving reality.

This sentiment echoes deeply with Neil Gaiman’s wish for us in 2013. The year of making mistakes.

Wright’s Law, and the Power of Love

Jeffrey Wright is a well-known teacher at Louisville Male Traditional High School in Louisville, Kentucky. He is known for his antics teaching physics, which include exploding pumpkins, fireballs, hovercraft, and a bed of nails with a sledgehammer.

But it is a simple lecture, one without props, that leaves the greatest impression on his students each year. The talk is about Mr. Wright’s son and the meaning of life, love, and family.

In the video below, Mr. Wright gives a lecture on his experiences as a parent of a child with special needs. His son, Adam (12 years old) has a rare disorder called Joubert syndrome, in which the part of the brain related to balance and movement fails to develop properly. Visually impaired and unable to control his movements, Adam breathes rapidly and doesn’t speak.  Find twelve minutes in your life and watch this film:


Perhaps the biggest testament of Mr. Wright’s message is that the film was created by a former student of Mr. Wright’s named Zack Conkle. Said Zack: “I wanted to show people this guy is crazy and really amazing.”

An incredible story. And what a way to start 2013. Love. Pay it forward.


(via New York Times; hat tip: Jonathan Fields)