Posts Tagged ‘einstein’

Do you have any “bad” ideas?

July 31, 2010

I just got a question from a podcast listener.  Brad from California asks:  “Dan, I hear you share about all your good ideas.  Do you ever have a bad idea?”

I had to pick myself up off the floor after laughing so hard.  Do I ever have a bad idea – oh yeah.  About 10 times a day.  And you know why?  I don’t know of any way to get to the good ideas without going through a whole lot of bad ones.  If you are waiting to share or experiment with an idea until you have a perfect one, chances are strong that 10 years from now you’ll still be waiting.

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” — Albert Einstein

Most people are afraid of good or bad ideas.  Good ideas require change and that’s intimidating.  Bad ideas make us look foolish or stupid, or waste time and money.

But take a look around you.  Anyone who is doing something great had a lot of bad ideas to get to where they are today.  I don’t know of any exceptions.   If you haven’t “failed” recently or had a bad idea, success will likely elude you as well.

Yes, I have bad ideas – lots of them.  I’ve failed with writing ideas, seminar ideas, product ideas, and employee ideas.   Perhaps I should track them for a time period.  I suspect my ratio is about 15 bad ideas for every 1 that has real potential.

My advice:  Welcome your “bad” ideas.  They are your friends.  Treat them with the love and respect they deserve.

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.” – Emile Chartier

The Country of the Blind

June 21, 2008

Back in 1904 the English writer H.G. Wells wrote his famous piece titled, “The Country of the Blind.”  The plot unfolds as a mountaineer named Nunez happened on to a community that had been cut off from the rest of the world.  While prosperous in many ways, this community had been struck by a disease that made everybody there blind – including newborn babies.  Nunez finds this unusual village with windowless houses and no candles for illumination.  Recognizing that he is the only one who can see, he begins thinking to himself — “In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King.”   He’s thrilled as he realizes he can teach and rule them.  But the villagers have no concept of sight and don’t understand his attempts to teach them this strange fifth sense.  Instead of welcoming his new knowledge and the opportunity for them to experience something beyond their “normal” existence, they resisted his willingness to help expand their world.

After falling in love with a young girl in this village, he is turned down as a suitable suitor by the elders – because of his “unstable obsession with sight.”  A local scientist offers a solution to the seeing man’s problem.  He must undergo an operation to remove his eyes and free him from all the damaging and confusing input he is getting.

What would you do?  Would you submit to the operation so you could be “normal?” Would you risk the scorn of family and friends who were telling you to be “realistic” and “practical?” Have you ever given up on a dream?  Was it because it was unrealistic or did you take the “advice” of people who were living In The Country of the Blind?  Where are those dreams today?  Are they dead – or perhaps just dormant?  Are you willing to see what others cannot?

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” —  Albert Einstein