Why do good ideas fail?

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Brian Kight

There's no such thing as a "good idea".

An idea is just a thought in our heads or words in the air.

We believe an idea is "good" because we imagine that doing it would result in progress or success.

We believe an idea is "bad" because we imagine that doing it would result in failure or setbacks.

In either case, the idea is neither good nor bad until we do something with it.

Eating healthy is an idea. If you did it, that would be a good thing for you. Until then, how much good does that idea add to your life?

Starting a podcast is an idea. Sharing your opinion is an idea. Taking a new job and moving to a new city is an idea.

Any of these things could add value or not. Until then, they're just ideas without tangible impact on your life. Only imagined potential implications.

Why does this matter?

Because we overestimate ideas we believe are good and underestimate ideas we think are bad.

We tend to judge ideas as good or bad too quickly based on our imagined projections before trying them out and getting proof of their impact one way or another.

As a consequence, we get overly attached to ideas we thought were good, even when we're not doing anything with them or when they don't work as well as we expected.

We also miss many opportunities because we shut down ideas we judge as bad before we get real-world evidence and miss the creative potential of discovering the dozens of potentially successful ideas behind the original concept we didn't think would work.

Discipline yourself to stop thinking of ideas as good or bad and start seeing every idea as neutral.

That will naturally open you up to more ideas, consider them more thoughtfully, and focus on the actions required to realize their potential.

The time is now. Do the work. 

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