We all have ideas. Some of us have too many ideas. Ideas live and die for a multitude of reasons. Some ideas flourish, while other get killed off, often before their time. It’s one thing if an idea gets killed off early without fleshing it out first, it’s another if it gets killed off for no fault of its own.
Here is a list of ways good ideas get killed off:
Fear — This a major reason why good ideas die off. We let go of ideas because we are afraid it’s not good enough, which is way of saying we are afraid that we are not good enough. We fear that it won’t work, or worse, that it will work. At the ideation stage, there is not reason to fear anything. It’s just an idea. Nothing has been invested. Until time is invested into an idea, you won’t really know whether or not an idea has any legs. It’s better to kill off an idea that has been vetted than to kill off a potentially good idea out of fear.
Paranoia — Similar to fear, but not the same. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve run into people who are paranoid about sharing their so-called million dollar idea with others out of fear that someone will steal it. And the, next thing they know, someone else has made their idea happen. No one stole their idea, and no one hacked into their super secret journal. Good ideas want to be made. They are not meant to rot in in journals. Sometimes sharing an idea is enough to get some momentum on it.
Procrastination — Whether you’re the type of person who has too may ideas, or the type of person who has been sitting on that one good idea for years, you suffer from procrastination. You’re the type of person who puts off an idea (probably out of fear) hoping to pick up on it later. Soon, you have piles of notebooks and scrap of paper with all your ideas. Yet, you’ve accomplish nothing except wasting a lot of paper, and spending years on making nothing happen. Don’t wait, make a difference today.
Impulsiveness — This is the exact opposite of procrastination. Some people jump forward with an idea without checking to see if it has any foundation in reality. Next thing you know, they crash and burn, and feel reluctant to come up with any new ideas. With so many resources at our disposal, there is no excuse for not doing a little research before investing too much money or time on an idea. You donâ€™t have to do a tone of research to experiment with an idea. You need just enough to see if the idea has any legs.
Stubbornness — Sometimes we’ll come up with an idea and keep hacking at it without any progress. But rather than being open to new ideas or feedback, we stick to our guns, and keep hacking away at the idea the same way we’ve always approached it. Sometimes a different perspective or approach is required in order to move the idea forward.
Vanity — This can also be considered pride, hubris, or arrogance. Â Sometimes we think that an idea isnâ€™t good enough for us. Somehow that an idea is not worthy of our reputation. Sometimes we are afraid of our name being associated with an idea that might fail. â€œIâ€™m only going to go after millions dollar ideas, and nothing else!â€ we tell ourselves. Or we donâ€™t want to start a novel until we know itâ€™ll be a hit first. Get over yourself. Have the humility and courage to put yourself out there, fault and all. Youâ€™ll never know which ideas will flourish or perish until you get over yourself. Making an idea happen should be more important than how famous it will make you.
Chaos — There seems to be some misconception that creativity and chaos are the same. They are the opposite in fact. To create something means to bring something into being, to give it shape, structure. Chaos is the exact opposite of that. All ideas needs some kind of process in order to make it fully realized. In brainstorming, structure is vital to make sure ideas are moving in one direction: forward. Ideas can be dropped, revisited, and revised, but the momentum is always toward creation, not chaos.
Beware of these idea killers on your journey toward making ideas happen. If youâ€™ve hit a creative wall, or if your team isnâ€™t innovating as they should, some combination of the above is probably in play.
The key to making ideas happen is to be mindful of these idea killers, while having the courage to be steadfast in making your idea happen.