Why You Don’t Do Anything With Ideas

How many people stood in terrible weather, with a smartphone in their pocket, waiting for a taxi and thought, “This is ridiculous, I wish taxis were easier”? But two guys at a conference in Paris were the ones that launched Uber. 

Research studies show that we have anywhere from 15,000-60,000 thoughts every single day. So most ideas we ignore. But why do some ideas rise to the surface, while others die? Why do some people take action on world-changing ideas and others say years later, “That was my idea!” The biggest problem with ideas, is that they are easy. Most people will kill an idea before it ever is tested because of internal blocks around: I don’t know how to do this, who am I to do this, and is this a big enough problem? 

I Don’t Know How to Do This

Evolution has taught us to preserve energy and ignore most ideas. For the most part, this serves us because we save calories and focus on survival. It’s in our interest to stick with the pack and not stand out, because those that took risks often died. So our brain is telling us, “You don’t know how to do this, give up.” 

What innovators do is they gather information. They ask others. Innovators will do trial runs or give themselves a timeline to attempt a new idea. They understand that the brain wants them to give up and they create mental rules to overcome that. 

Who Am I To Do This?

Tina Fey said, “The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ . . . just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.” Most people think that others are more qualified to launch an idea. Whether that’s a business project, podcast, or new product, we kill our dreams because we feel like imposters. 

What innovators understand is that statistically you are an expert in almost any area. For example, I have a Masters degree, I’m a father, I was raised Catholic, and I really like travel. Only 8% of the nation has a Masters degree, 41% of those were earned by males (not sure how many are dads) but just being a male with a Masters puts me in the 3.28% without adding my other specialties. In a handful of areas, you’re probably an expert compared to the average person. 

Is This a Big Enough Problem? 

The last mental block to launching ideas is seeing if a problem is big enough to be solved. Businesses will run all sorts of tests, case studies, research, and focus groups. This is in an effort to test ideas before they back them with additional time and money. But the average person can’t do that. 

Instead, innovators will find small ways to see if an idea might stick. They might blog about it for six months, do Facebook Lives, try to pre-sell it, or just ask friend’s their opinions. Innovators look for a broad range of feedback before killing an idea. 

I think we have a problem right now, we don’t have enough new ideas. We have old ways of thinking that perpetuate old solutions to old problems. Whether it’s in politics, personal development, spirituality, or business, we need new ways to think and understand the world, and we need innovators like you, with your expertise, to not give up and to launch new ideas. 

Joe Sanok is a business consultant with Practice of the Practice. He’s a keynote and TEDx speaker who has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, and Real Simple. He helps people and businesses launch innovative ideas that will reshape the world. Read more at www.PracticeofthePractice.com

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