Sunday, May 5, 2013

The "If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It" Myth

There's a lot to be said for folk wisdom. In fact, it sometimes seems so commonsensical that we don't dare challenge it for fear of being labeled an ignorant grandma hater. I mean, it's tough to argue with old sayings like:

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  • Bad breathe is better than no breath at all
  • A penny saved is a penny earned
  • Things turn up when you dig
But what if we never challenged conventional wisdom? Aren't there times when you'd rather have the dream of possibility given by those two birds singing in the bush?

One of my favorite disputable bits of folk wisdom is, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I'm sorry, grandma, but that sounds a bit lazy to me. How could you perfect your quilting technique if you simply did what worked for everybody else? How could we ever hope to knock 3,000+ calories off your sweet potato pie recipe unless we try something new? How does anybody "create" anything without "fixing" something?

"If it ain't broke don't fix it" simply means that everything is broke. It doesn't matter if something seems to be working, we should always search for ways to make it better. To make it more interesting. Fixing what ain't broke is where creativity and genius are born.

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