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To Error or Not to Error

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"                -John Wooden

Lately it seems that a lot of web services have been making some major snafus. Both Yahoo and LinkedIn have been compromised over the last couple months and sites like Facebook and Google are constantly experiencing bugs in their services and interfaces.

This makes me wonder, "Is it acceptable for big companies to make mistakes?"

When I was a little kid, my mother had a sewing area in our family laundry room. On the wall above the sewing machine my mother had hung this quote:

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Whether I was doing long division or drafting a mechanical spec drawing, I was instructed to do them correctly by aligning my number columns correctly and drawing my lines straight and with consistent line weight. Taking time to do things correctly from the beginning of a process became a tenant of how I functioned as a young adult and has stuck with me as I have proceeded in my professional life.

Whenever I set out on a new project, I make it my first priority to not make any errors. The constant worrying thought of "Who will see my app and what will be their experience?", causes me to constantly fix things as I create them (I just noticed that I edit grammar and spell check as I type).

I wonder if this anxiety hinders my creativity and keeps me from truly allowing spontaneous thought to flow during the initial stages of a development project. Am I so worried with being perfect, that I sabotage myself from truly unlocking my greatest ideas?

In some areas of my life, I know I have a perfectionist in me. It might be called OCD or "attention to detail", but whatever it is, what are the side effects on my ability to be truly creative?

It seems the only way that I will ever truly find out the answers to these questions, is to force myself to accept that I will make mistakes if I lower the flood gates. So, I am left with a concept that goes against that defining tenant I have held dear to all of these years.


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