Where do great inventions and concepts begin? All the songs, movies, sermons and speeches that trigger emotive responses and illicit action — where do they begin?
They begin with an idea.
A concept. A thought. A moment of inspiration that acted as a catalyst for creating something tangible. A ‘gift’ — as Seth Godin would call it — with the power to change lives.
Thomas Edison once said,
“I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
I like this phrase.
I think its helpful.
It motivates me.
It instills courage to attempt a new thing and live a little on the edge.
And best of all, it can be applied to the concept of idea creation.
Because for every good idea there would most certainly have been a number of bad ones that led to its formation. Ideas so bad that even the originator of the idea would’ve cringed at the very thought of their idea being conceived.
And that’s despite the fact the idea was theirs in the first place!
Einstein, though most famous for his theory on relativity, published another 200 plus papers.
Mozart produced over 500 musical works.
Bach, more than 300 cantatas.
And Thomas Edison, in addition to the light bulb, held over 1000 patents.
They had lots of ideas.
Great leaders, artists, thinkers, and entrepreneurs all know this, for they’re those who believe in the possibilities, come up with bad ideas by the truck load, and are not afraid to dismiss them.
Some get voiced. Few are attempted. Others remain firmly in the imagination — never even making it to the drawing board.
But what these pioneering thinkers, entrepreneurs, artists and successful leaders know is that their ratio of success increases the more they see the value of bad ideas and are willing embrace failure.
Yes, that’s right — they actually value bad ideas.
But not only do they value them, they’ve understood that the chances of creating a great idea, is exponentially increased when they’re willing to toy with bad ones.
For it’s not so much about the ideas being good or bad — particularly in relation to the integrity of the creative process — but more to do with our willingness to create environments that value, facilitate, and stimulate them.
Idea creation is a necessary requirement for progression. For the greater the number of ideas, whether good or bad, the greater the chances of success.
So then, if there is a correlation between bad ideas and good ones, we should determine to generate as many of them possible. For in generating ideas, and being willing to accept failure, we’re sure to come across one that’s worth giving energy to.
Now there’s an idea.
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