The idea of a lifetime comes once a month

March 11, 2015 by Joshua
in Creativity, Entrepreneurship

[This post is part of a series on principles to create ideas people want to help you with and creating a helpful, supportive community around you. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view that series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]

Even Thomas Edison, with over a thousand patents, only produced a handful of products that stood the test of time. If one of the greatest inventors of all time succeeded only about a percent of the time, what chance do I have, not coming up with a thousand ideas? If I come up with any idea at all, I better make sure I don’t make any mistakes and mess it up. I better protect it with everything I have.

Many people feel that way. It’s counterproductive because it gets you to protect your idea, which hampers your ability to get information from the market and makes you hold it rigidly when flexibility helps you improve it. You don’t take healthy risks.

It also misses an important point: the time, energy, and other resources to go from idea to product outweigh those necessary to come up with the idea. Some people conclude that ideas are cheap and therefore not worth much attention.

I conclude that since ideas are easy to create, you can feel free to experiment with them without so much protection. If you mess an idea up, you don’t have to wait long before you come up with another that you like as much. Only now you have more experience, at least in how you messed up the last one, so you can expect to avoid your past mistake.

Combined with the idea that an okay idea plus listening to your market plus flexibility is worth more than a great idea, you know how to create another great idea. Combined with the idea that skills you can learn outperform innate ability, you know you can learn the skills to turn an okay idea into a great one.

In other words, you can learn to create ideas as valuable as anyone else, and you have the freedom to act on them without overly protecting yourself.

To me, these views enable anyone to act entrepreneurially and enjoy it. That doesn’t mean everyone has to start new companies. You can create new ideas in a company to get promoted or given more responsibility. You can share ideas in a community to get people to see you as someone who solves problems, so they’d want to hire you.

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