A recent study from Queen’s University in Canada has discovered that the average person has over 6,000 thoughts per day. However, the study did not answer this: how many of those thoughts are original, creative, or unique? To that, I would add, of those 6,000 thoughts, how many of them have marketable value? Suppose you’re someone who works in a creative capacity or is a manager whose role is evaluating other people’s ideas. In that case, you’re aware of how challenging it can be to decide which ideas have real value. I spend a large portion of my day using my thoughts to solve marketing challenges. When I get to a place where I feel like my ideas lack originality, I step back and regroup.
John Hayes, VP of Sales for Solar Technology Inc., a manufacturer of solar-powered construction message and arrow boards, believes this, “People attribute higher product quality and value to any item that is creatively advertised. In the same way, they attribute higher intelligence to an individual that is capable of original thought.” I wish there were a better way to properly analyze good ideas and calculate their worth before their implementation. It’s always a lot easier to assign value to an idea after it’s successful. There’s simply no way to know if a thought is any good or has value until somebody dares to bring it into existence. Unfortunately, nobody has the playbook containing the secret formulas on how to turn a good idea into a great one. The best way to test if an original thought has any value is to put it into action. I know that seems obvious, but far too often, when we overthink an idea and the possible results, analysis paralysis can set in, guaranteeing the idea will die. Over-thinking can sap your confidence, drain your energy, and lead you down a path of fear and trepidation.
Good creative people excel at putting ideas into action. Of course, they’re acutely aware that not all of their thoughts are going to be winners, but they are usually the ones who consistently show up with the courage to give one a go. I have the highest respect for people who willingly step into the arena and openly share their thoughts and ideas, knowing that they will be met with rejection nine times out of ten.
Matt Borrelli, a Senior Art Director at Liquid, an Allentown-based agency focused on strategy, user experience design, digital marketing, and technology, agrees that “It takes a brave person to present an original and untested thought. It also requires a certain amount of faith for a client to stake their brand’s reputation into something new and unfamiliar. But, great marketing results never start with safe ideas.”
The world is full of game-changing ideas that were once rejected when they were first presented. For example, imagine working at Western Union in 1876 reading this internal memo stating, “This ‘telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. Therefore, this device is of no value to us.” Ouch!
Do you have any ideas you’re sitting on, wondering if they’re any good or have value? If yes, what’s holding you back from using them? The journey to a win or loss starts on the same road, and action always beats intention.
So, what’s the way forward? Well, for one, we all have ideas. A good gauge for which one to breathe life into is the one you can’t stop thinking about, the one that gnaws at you consistently by showing up in your daily thoughts. Don’t be one of those people who go to their grave with their music still inside them. You owe it to yourself and the world to take the leap. I can promise you this, thinking about doing something will not overcome your fear, taking action will.