The Heretic Logo


The Heretic is a free bi-weekly dispatch delivering insights into leadership in exponential times. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

be radical.
Disrupt Disruption
Build What Matters

Jul 10th, 2019 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Three Plus Two Is Six

On Monday my dear friend, collaborator and Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist Frederik Pferdt presented a riddle to Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier at a luncheon we both attended. Frederik asked all attendees at the event to close their eyes and listen carefully as he vocalized some seemingly simple math:

“One plus one is two.”

“Two plus two is four.”

“Three plus two is six.”

“Six plus two is eight.”

Altmaier vocalized what many of us surely thought — when Frederik finalized his third equation he muttered: “Wrong.”

Of course it is wrong. And that is the point.

Pretty much all of us have a strong bias towards identifying what is wrong instead of acknowledging what is right and focusing on the learnings. Nobody gave Frederik kudos for getting a whopping 75% of his math right. Nobody asked what we can learn from his mistake. Instead we all zeroed in on the fact that he made a mistake.

If you want to get better, focus on the learning not on the failure.

1,203 Posts and Counting.
Don't miss the next post. Sign up now!