No Good Ideas

I can’t figure out my next move. I want to write a book, but I don’t know what to write about. I want to take my partner on a date, but I don’t have anything new on tap. I want to start a business, but I don’t know what it should do.

Nonsense. You’re not stymied. You just haven’t taken the leap! It’s a joyful, scary leap. But you can do it. It pays dividends. And you don’t need anyone else.

Here’s the scoop. Instead of asking yourself for good ideas, ask yourself for any ideas. Write down 20 bad ones. It’s OK, nobody has to know. In the words of Nike, just do it!

Creativity is a habit you develop by pushing out crap to meet micro-deadlines. You iterate, and eventually you get lucky. Except it’s not luck, it’s a process you control. You find great ideas after encountering millions of silly ones first.

One of the Thomas Watsons of IBM said something like “success is easy, just double your rate of failure.” I’m inspired by the way Seth Godin puts it.

You have to direct your efforts and put in a bit of time. Eventually, you’ll see those little actions compound. And you’ll realize that good ideas aren’t actually painful at all.


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