I’m struck by the similarity between people who do the best work, and people who doubt that the work they do is that good.
Over in my Other Place I’ve recently posted two seemingly unrelated talks. Ben Hammersley talking about networked civil society, and Merlin Mann’s webstock talk about how He and the Universe Don’t Care If You’re Scared, in what he also references back to The War of Art.
Ben talks about a different type of fear in others – as what the world is becoming, and the difference between those who see hierarchies and those who don’t in terms of international relations and “digital geo-politics”.
And as things begin to rotate from looking up to looking across, it’s easy to think that you’re looking the wrong way; principally because there’s no clear right way. Taking a forward view, you look horizontally at your colleagues on twitter; and see a very different type of network and support structure; and sometimes the two interact in many ways: #weLoveBaskers, #pufflesmassiv, @nakedcserv
Those without the sheer bloody mindedness (or confidence) to continue, question their assumptions, and slow down. There’s no easy answer; sometimes that’s right for a novel idea, sometimes that isn’t. One happens mostly in public, the other happens mostly in private.
I remember a blog post from years ago by someone who had just left DirectGov, talking about the how/why of a major decision he was very proud of: that there were no inline links in the text of DirectGov pages. And the final line was something along the lines of “sometimes, when everyone says you’re wrong; you’re still right”. The comments on the post were from the “everyone” side of that discussion.
Unshakable confidence that you’re right is not necessarily a good thing, and sometimes means you do something silly. That fear, is possibly the underlying problem. Kathryn Shultz talks about the assumption that they’re not necessarily right with the fear of Being Wrong (which comes out in the UK soon).
It’s not being permanently right that moves us forwards, it’s the lessons from past work. Which requires the introspection and self-confidence to look, consider, evaluate and move forward.