Ctrl-Z The Ctrl-Z Button changed the face of humanity.
It created a trial-and-error mentality.
It encourages try-and-see.

“I’ll format this text like so in my business cards… Oh no! Too far to the left!!!
Ctrl-Z!!!!!!!!! :) Yay!”

These all work similarly: the Ctrl-Z button, having many lives for your character in a video game, going back to a prior saved Word document. Trial and error, multiple-trial and success.

Can there be any harm in the Ctrl-Z button? Research shows that there’s not much, if any, harm. There’s some evidence that teenagers are taking more risks these days (e.g., this pdf), which some attribute to the second-chance mentality, “Sure, I might get in trouble, but I’ll get a do-over.” Restart the game. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t get a second chance. But so far, there’s no direct evidence that a trial-and-error mentality is connected to crime or harm. In fact, sociologists recently reported that video games do not cause more aggression in teens.

On the other hand, there are a ton of great things about restarting. See what Dave Seah highlights about rebooting your day. Restarting is freshness. It’s counteracting what the Made-to-Stick Heath brothers call “The Curse of Knowledge,” knowing so much about your subject that you can’t step away and be objective. If you can trigger yourself to restart your day, then maybe you can cultivate that “beginner’s mind” that Jordan Silberman writes about here and Miriam Ufberg writes about here.

I love Ctrl-Z. I love trying, going back, retrying.
The most memorable way to learn is by making mistakes. :)


One Comment

  1. Posted Thursday April 5, 2007 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    LOL! I had to figure out what Ctrl-Z did! UNDO! Hilarious!

    You know, just like our never ending work to cultivate happiness in our lives, “Ctrl-Z” works in my mind as “forgiveness” and “letting go.” Not always easy, not always perfect… cultivate, cultivate.