Show me your bad ideas
Creativity is a matter of practice
The best ideas must have gone by now. Therefore, why try to come up with something new? It is easy to give into this reasoning. There are good grounds to challenge this line of thought and overcome our resistance.
Plenty of good ideas remain
Back when Dr. Seuss was writing, there were only tens of thousands of books for kids. Now, there are millions to choose from. The same is true for movie script ideas, summer camp special days, niches for surgeons, original landscaping ideas. - Seth Godin
Dr. Seuss could have concluded that he could not write anything new, but instead we got The Cat in the Hat. The Beatles could have concluded that all the best songs had been written, but they penned 188 original songs between 1962-70. 300,000 patents are granted in the US each year. Hence, we are unlikely to reach the limit of ingenuity anytime soon.
Where do good ideas come from?
Good ideas, ones that bring potential change, can be frightening. Taking responsibility and driving them forward is challenging. What concerns us more is wasting our time developing bad ideas; those which could make us look or feel stupid. However, we have to generate many ideas to stand a chance of hitting on good ones. The bad ideas pile will be large relative to that for good ideas.
To illustrate the point, consider the following story. One month, a pottery teacher split their class into two groups. Group A had to make a pot every day for 30 days (30 total). Group B had to work on a single pot for the whole 30 days. At the end of the month, the teacher judged the quality of the pots. The top 10 pots all came from Group A.
We can't have good ideas (or pots) unless we are willing to generate a lot of bad ones. As suggested in my Creative Momentum post, we should not get distracted by the thing we want to be (the noun) and instead put our efforts into the thing we need to do (the verb). If you want to be a writer then write, a singer then sing, a web developer then code. We don’t need to wait to be picked to do this, we can Pick Ourselves.
The Practice book summary by Seth Godin
The War of Art interview with Steven Pressfield
Steal Like an Artist post by Phil Martin
James Dyson developed 5,000 prototypes of his bagless vacuum cleaner before he settled on his revolutionary design. If you want to have good ideas then be prepared to generate lots of bad ones. Until next Sunday, beat the resistance and practice, practice, practice.