Ideas are an input. As inputs go, they’re not all that valuable. For instance, they’re significantly less valuable as an input than hard work, or time, or tools, or really almost anything.
But at the same time, they’re essential. Great accomplishments require ideas, but ideas alone will never get you there.
Too often, I think, people feel like they need to start with a “Big Idea” in order to get anything done. If they don’t have some perfect, awe-inspiring idea they don’t ever get started. But while an idea is important, it’s not primary.
You can start collecting all sorts of other resources first. And you should! Train yourself on anything, save money, become healthier, meet people. The more juice you have to spare, the easier execution will become.
Once you have all those things, it’s easier to step back and say “Okay, what can I do with this stuff that makes sense? I know how to do X, Y and Z; I have this amount of money saved, and I’ve cleared out this much time in my calendar each day/week/month. I know these people with these skill sets. When you put all those jigsaw pieces together, what picture forms?”
That’s a lot easier than sitting down with absolutely zero resources and trying to come up with a great idea. Even if you do come up with something, you’ll be daunted by how much work you’ll have to put into it, and great ideas will sound worse.
The amazing comedian Mitch Hedberg once joked: “I write jokes for a living, I sit at my hotel at night, I think of something that’s funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen is too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain’t funny.”
How true that is! If you think of an amazing idea that will take a ton of work, you’ll convince yourself it isn’t that great of an idea after all. But if you’ve already done the work because you were smart and collected resources all the time, then the idea is already halfway to fruition.
Train your ideas to work for you – you don’t work for them.