Everything Wrong With Everything Wrong With Lists

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Everything Wrong With Everything Wrong With Lists

As I walked by my son’s computer, I noticed that there was a plethora of “everything wrong with” titles in his “Up Next” list on YouTube. Being no stranger to these sometimes entertaining overviews of mistakes in people’s work (usually movies), my mind started churning. Why do so many people enjoy these summaries? Is there a positive in pointing out everything wrong?

On the surface, these videos can be fun. How many mistakes can you spot in a particular movie or television show? It hearkens back to Highlights puzzles where we were taught to scrutinize an image’s every detail. It teaches us to identify every flaw. In many jobs, this level of attention is of utmost importance. Behind the scenes of the very shows these videos tear apart there are generally “continuity advisers” to make sure certain details stay on track. Thus, we challenge ourselves to catch what everyone involved in a creative piece have missed.

Everything Wrong: Good or Bad?

Yes, I see the irony here. What is wrong with everything wrong? Eventually, someone will start pointing out mistakes I make in this post, too. But there is something deeper here. Something instructive.

The good:

  • To correct mistakes, you must find mistakes
  • To avoid future mistakes, you must understand past mistakes
  • Developing attention to detail is key to heading mistakes off at the path

The bad:

  • Spending too much time identifying potential mistakes can delay progress
  • Worrying about minor details can be a major hindrance to creativity
  • Focusing on what is wrong can make it difficult to stay positive

Lesson Learned

Be detail oriented and catch the mistakes. However, do not get so caught up in minutiae that you miss the big picture. Many of the “everything wrong” videos feature blockbuster hits. These are films with millions of fans. Identifying a score of mistakes does not change that. People love the end result despite the mistakes. Those mistakes can actually becoming endearing trivia.

Have fun looking for everything wrong in your own creative works. Identify it and then determine if it really needs correction. Sometimes, it can actually stimulate even more creativity. Whatever you do, don’t let minor issues halt your forward progress.

 

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