"If you’re not making mistakes, it means you’ve given up," says Nick Offerman at Big Think Edge

Advice for tackling any discipline from the real-life Ron Swanson.

  • Nick Offerman teaches a video lesson for Big Think Edge called "Pursue Betterment, Not Perfection".
  • Hear the actor, writer and woodworker's best advice for work, success and happiness in under 5 minutes.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge to access the best learning online.

How does actor, writer and woodworker Nick Offerman land roles, build boats, and write books, all while having one of the most enviable marriages in Hollywood? His method isn't easy, but it is effective and it lasts: Maintain a student mentality, for your whole life.

In his video lesson for Big Think Edge, "Pursue Betterment, Not Perfection," he explains how to make good on any pursuit you're investing your time and energy into, whether it's your career, a hobby, or your relationship.

Subscribe to Big Think Edge and you'll learn first-hand from Offerman how to start the project that scares you most, or succeed in that goal you've put on the back-burner – you know the one.

Get advice for tackling any discipline from the real-life Ron Swanson

Humans, possibly uniquely among animals, have the capacity for lifelong growth and learning. Using that capacity, more than anything else, gives us pleasure and satisfaction.

Offerman teaches Big Thinkers how to conceive of pursuits as practices – it's the right way of recognizing and working with—rather than against—the way we humans naturally learn. Offerman puts betterment far above perfection, citing his mistakes as the most valuable lessons in his life.

[I]f you're not making mistakes, it means you've given up and you're becoming one of those fat baby people floating around on the chairs in the movie WALL-E eating everything as some kind of weird milkshake.
– Nick Offerman

Don't be a fat baby person. Subscribe to Big Think Edge now to build more confidence and better relationships, and to reach new creative heights.

Boost your professional intelligence

Nick Offerman's "Pursue Betterment, Not Perfection" is part of the 9-part Boost Your Professional Intelligence learning path on Big Think Edge.

Whatever you trained for, they probably left out the most important piece—how to navigate your career. A complex, multitasking job in itself, your professional life depends upon self-knowledge, habit-building, strategic thinking, and the ability to collaborate with a wide range of personalities. It's the invisible double-major of adult learning. In the Boost Your Professional Intelligence learning path, you'll learn from some of the world's most successful thinkers how to use data to track and boost your own performance, how to treat your career as an ongoing work-in-progress, and how to eradicate bad habits and master winning ones.

Yug, age 7, and Alia, age 10, both entered Let Grow's "Independence Challenge" essay contest.

Photos: Courtesy of Let Grow
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • The coronavirus pandemic may have a silver lining: It shows how insanely resourceful kids really are.
  • Let Grow, a non-profit promoting independence as a critical part of childhood, ran an "Independence Challenge" essay contest for kids. Here are a few of the amazing essays that came in.
  • Download Let Grow's free Independence Kit with ideas for kids.
Keep reading Show less

Four philosophers who realized they were completely wrong about things

Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?

Sartre and Wittgenstein realize they were mistaken. (Getty Images)
Culture & Religion

Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways. 

Keep reading Show less

Withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants can last over a year, new study finds

We must rethink the "chemical imbalance" theory of mental health.

Bottles of antidepressant pills named (L-R) Wellbutrin, Paxil, Fluoxetine and Lexapro are shown March 23, 2004 photographed in Miami, Florida.

Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new review found that withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants and antipsychotics can last for over a year.
  • Side effects from SSRIs, SNRIs, and antipsychotics last longer than benzodiazepines like Valium or Prozac.
  • The global antidepressant market is expected to reach $28.6 billion this year.
Keep reading Show less

Is there a limit to optimism when it comes to climate change?

Or is doubt a self-fulfilling prophecy?

David McNew/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

'We're doomed': a common refrain in casual conversation about climate change.

Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…