Confessions of an Outlaw: Valuable Mistakes

As a high-wire artist, Philippe Petit doesn't have much room for mistakes. Still, he finds that mistakes are our best teachers and advises friends and students to treat them as such.

Philippe Petit: If I had a university to direct and in some ways I hope that one day to have my own foundation where I will teach people things there will be a course in mistakes in the sense that I think we discard mistakes, we brush them aside, we in a non creative way mistakes are our best teachers.

When I make a mistake there is two things parallel happening in my head, in my heart and consciously I try to find the why of the situation and very consciously I observe what happened or, you know, recall what happens and find sometime the myriads of details that I didn’t pay attention to.  Or sometime it’s as simple as I was not focusing enough, you know.  If I cut a piece of wood with a saw and not really focused and the blade of the saw jumps and, you know, starts scratching my finger. What a great lesson because I maybe didn’t observe how the fibers of the wood where maybe I didn’t sharpen the saw correctly.  Maybe I was saying hello to a friend passing by instead of concentrating on the curve, you know, the width of the blade. It’s very easy to observe a mistake and then to backtrack and to find out where the causes of that.  So I am always very interested.  It’s like solving a problem, you know.  It’s interesting for me to investigate what went wrong.

This is the ninth video in a nine-part series with Philippe Petit available in playlist form <a href="http://bigthink.com/playlists/confessions-of-an-outlaw-a-creativity-workshop-with-philippe-petit-2">here</a>. 

 

As a high-wire artist, Philippe Petit doesn't have much room for mistakes. Still, he finds that mistakes are our best teachers and advises friends and students to treat them as such.


This is the ninth video in a nine-part series with Philippe Petit available in playlist form here.

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