You’re an idea factory. Every day a thought might run through your mind that is truly remarkable, perhaps even life-changing.
It’s vital that we keep our idea factory pumping out at high volume. To do that, we need to be aware of the some of the things that can throw a wrench in the works:
Self-criticism. Not every idea you think of is a life-changer; or necessarily any good. Good ideas are born out of the discipline of producing a lot of ideas. One of the fastest ways to shut down production is to evaluate every idea and conclude that you’ll never come up with a good one.
Critics. We all long to have our ideas validated by the community we care about. But beware the person who’s quick to comment on your idea without helping you build upon it. Of course, some people naturally see flaws first, and they can be helpful. But many others are more interested in promoting their own self-importance than in creating a great idea.
Fatigue. You can’t expect ideas to flow from the factory when there’s no energy flowing to the plant. This is especially true when we mistakenly believe that the best ideas come under pressure. Rest rejuvenates the spirit and the best ideas you’ll produce are not imposed through deadlines but exposed through reflection.
Complacency. Settling for what we have now because we don’t want to risk what a new idea might require of us is the master off-switch. When we’re complacent (read my other posts about it) we not only stop generating our own ideas, we become threatened by the ideas of others that might disturb our camp.
Culture. Aware of it or not, the culture of your current organization limits your own ideas. That’s because the longer we are in an organization, the more “group-think” occurs. We stop proposing ideas that won’t “work” and pretty soon our overall output is slowed—even outside of our work setting. That’s why great organizations rotate leaders, hire from the outside, and use consultants like me :-).
So, how’s your idea factory humming along? As Jim Rohn once said, “Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.”
What are other things you’ve found that stifle new ideas?