Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Do Your Favorite Idea

  1. We know the finished product won’t meet our expectations. We know that expertise comes only to those who do something a lot. And we’ve never done this kind of idea before. So of course we won’t do a good job at planting a garden. We’ve never gardened before. It hurts to imagine doing something poorly.
  2. Having ideas feels good. Doing ideas often feels unpleasant. It’s fun to toss our idea back and forth in our mind, envisioning its wild success. But the prospect of actually doing it, of making it real, feels like sending your child out alone into the cold, naked and unprepared for the real world. We sense that there are more dimensions and logistics to making the idea real than we currently realize, and we fear getting derailed in the attempt. What’s worse, we fear that, in the process of turning it into a concrete reality, it may lose that magical, mystical quality that makes the idea . . . ideal: its purity, its x factor. Because our cheap execution won’t match our grand vision, we may succeed in making Pinocchio into a real boy, but his soul may evaporate in the heat of effort. The idea of a thing, it turns out, feels more comfortable than the thing itself.
  1. There is now room in our mind for a new idea. Holding onto our idea takes up space and mental processing power that is freed up when the idea is out in the real world and no longer in our head.
  2. We get more than one replacement idea. Because our mind now trusts that we’ll do the ideas it generates, we may receive two or three or more instead of just one. This is also in part because, having done the idea, our mind has expanded with the experience we’ve gained, so there is more room to fit ideas. It’s like a positive Greek hydra: we do one idea, only to have several more sprout up.
  3. We get better and better ideas each time. As we turn an idea into reality, we discover there is more to making it real than we thought. If it’s a novel, there are outlines, scene structure, three-dimensionality of characters to figure out, not to mention writing good dialogue and prose. If it’s a business, we find ourselves learning about taxes, website design, copywriting, social media marketing, and SEO, not to mention the actual core competency of our business. As we struggle to do well in these new dimensions, our experience and expertise in the domain grows, and our minds become open to richer and deeper ideas. So naturally the next ideas we get are better than the one we last worked on.
  4. Because of this expertise, we’ll do a better job on the next idea we act on. Not only will new ideas be better and more developed as we do our current ones, our ability to do them justice will increase.



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David Knell

David Knell

I’m a writer, designer, husband, father, and Latter-day Saint. I write about Creativity, Productivity, and Self-improvement. I‘m writing my first novel.