Nurture Then Share Your New Ideas
Is it better to keep it between your ears and mull it over before letting the judgment of others tear it down?
In the past I used to get amped up about new ideas I had for businesses or websites and I would keep everything to myself. I wasn’t worried that somebody else would steal the idea, but I felt that sharing my thought experiment with the world too soon would spoil it somehow. It was as if I had to keep it a secret until I was wildly successful with whatever it was that was bouncing around in my brain.
The reason I did this was because, deep down, I knew that my ideas sounded silly. I knew I was just a guy who had somehow released a wonderful brain-fart with no research or evidence to back it up. Bringing up the unfounded idea to others would most likely lead to it being shut down, and so of course I was adverse to doing this! I liked the idea of having some secret plan, and I didn’t want my euphoria to be dashed on the rocks by some well meaning relative or friend.
I used to work on ideas for a long time (months!) without talking to a single person about them! One of these ideas was based on helping college students invest in the stock market. I had been learning about compounding interest, how to build saving habits, and how to set yourself up for success in the future. I was sure that if I could just get students to invest some money their lives would be vastly improved. Little did I know that all my time and energy were just setting me up for failure!
I wrote up an entire class to teach students about investing. I printed out fliers and posted them up around campus. I planned a meeting time for the class to meet.
ZERO responses. Great start! Whatever did I do wrong?
I kept the idea to myself! I didn’t want negative feedback on my idea and so I didn’t get any feedback at all!
What did I learn when I actually asked someone what they thought about my class?
They didn’t care! In fact, nobody really seemed to care….
Some of the people I approached didn’t get why investing was important because they got $1,000 from their parents every month.
The vast majority of college students only had $40 to their names and weren’t thinking about going to some fancy ‘investor class’ with the rest of the money they had for food that week!
I had created a class for a group of people who just didn’t care. Nobody wanted what I had created, even though I was giving it away for free.
I had worked all summer creating this class. I had slaved away over my books, reading and putting everything together in a way people would understand. I did all this and nobody really gave a damn.
My friends showed up, but only one person ever took my advice and invested anything.
If I had shared my ideas with someone, anyone, before working on them for months I would have saved myself incalculable amounts of time and effort. I learned a hard lesson from this, but it was a lesson I really wish I could have avoided.
When you have a new idea, it’s necessary to give it a little time to grow before showing it to the world. It’s disrespectful to those you’re hoping to get advice from if you are asking them to put more brainpower into your idea than you have.
If you’re planning on putting a lot of time and effort into something, however, make sure you check in with a few people before starting the journey. The right advice from someone who know what they’re talking about can literally save you months of work. The thoughts and opinions of others can shoot down your ideas, but they can also save you an insane amount of unnecessary blood, sweat, and tears.