How to be Successful By Coming Up With BAD Ideas.
By Anubhav Srivastava (Register For His Workshop – Super Confidence For Super Success !)
Let me tell you a few stories about many of the heroes you may admire.
Edison is known primarily for a few major inventions (The Light Bulb, Phonograph, Kinetographic Camera, Alkaline Battery ) he got over 1093 patents for his inventions across his lifetime, many of them never came into commercial use and have been forgotten.
Einstein is best known for his paper on the theory of relativity. The work that firmly established him as one of the greatest Geniuses to ever grace the world. But do you know that the same genius published 248 other papers, many of which the public doesn’t even know about?
Mozart, the musical genius, many of whose compositions we still listen to today came up with masterpieces like The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, Symphony No.36, the Requiem Mass also came up with over 500 other compositions others did not care much about (at least at that time)
Pablo Picasso, the great artist came up with popular art works such as “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, “The Old Guitarist”, “The Three Musicians”, “Seated Woman” etc. also came up with 20,000 other pieces of art in his lifetime, most of which did not quite attain the level of fame and appreciation that these pieces did.
Richard Branson started over 400 companies and yet he is mostly known for the success of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Records and Virgin Mobile.
It is clear that most of these people whom the public looks up to as Geniuses came up with and even executed far more ideas that the public never cared about than they ever produced works, inventions or businesses that garnered a lot of success and wide appreciation. Most of their works were TERRIBLE ( at least by their standards)
What can we learn from this?
If there is one thing we can learn from the stories of these geniuses is that the secret to producing a few great works is coming up with A LOT OF IDEAS, even if much of it is BAD or downright terrible.
It takes a lot of bad ideas to come up with a good one. It takes a lot of bad work to come up with a work of Genius. One of the greatest traits of the people we admire is their ability to be immensely productive. They come up with something other constantly regardless of whether or not it becomes successful. Edison came up with a minor invention every week and a major one every six months.
Author Frans Johansson talks about this in his book where he mentions that the factor that predicts whether or not an individual or a group would come up with high quality ideas is in fact the quantity of ideas they come up with. Most established companies come up with new products that do not work, Established artists come up with songs that are average at the best, but sooner or later they come up with something that strikes a chord with the public.
In fact during the early years of Google, the company came up with thousands of new ideas directly related or completely unrelated to their search business. This led to the creation of innovative Google products such as Gmail, Google Earth etc. but at the same time there were hundreds of ideas that were developed but did not make the cut. The truth is we do not know what will work right from the beginning. It is only through brainstorming, testing and sometimes just putting something out in the market will you know whether it works or not. But if you stop coming up with and executing most of your ideas out for the fear of being imperfect, you may never put out anything at all.
So what to do next?
So now that we know we need a lot of bad to produce a little bit of good, how do we start practising this habit and implement it practically? Well there are a few steps you can follow.
1) Don’t look at bad ideas as time wasted. The first thing we need to do is to stop looking at bad ideas or a string of failures as time wasted. They exist to serve a purpose because quality comes quantity, when we pick the best. Let me give you an example of this in movies, specifically documentaries. The best movies and documentaries are created when they are edited down for maximum audience impact. But to get them edited down into what the audience demands also requires a lot of raw footage. For my own inspirational movie Carve Your Destiny which has been by over 650,000 people on Youtube, I had to edit it down from 100 hours of raw footage, down to 80 minutes. I spent close to 6 years working on this movie where I interviewed many extremely famous people.
Much of my attempts to approach these people went in vain, I approached hundreds and hundreds of people and yet got only around 20 people to agree to appear. Out of that number, some people gave terrible interviews and had to be mostly edited out. On top of that, I spent over a thousand hours researching to find the best material to connect everything together and ensure the movie had a great flow. Much of content researched was never used. But was it wasted time? Absolutely not! Because the end result was worth it and came as a result of the time invested in researching content that did not end up getting used.
2) Research a Lot. The more you research, the more ideas you get. If you are in Business, research a lot about business trends, if you are into writing, research into what ideas readers seem to embrace quicker, if you are into art or music, study and evaluate the music or art that they like. Having an idea of what the audience wants does not mean being unoriginal or copying what is popular, you can certainly add your original elements to it, it is just being smart about what has greater chances of working, before you begin actively working on your idea.
3) Write down all your ideas and take notes. An idea is often momentary and fleeting, it comes and goes unless you jot it down to remember it when you need the most. If you do not jot down your ideas or take notes, you may forget to remember some of the greatest ideas you could ever come up with that could potentially change your life.
4) Stop trying to get things done perfectly. Sure, you may want things to be as good as possible before you put it out on the market but sometimes putting out a rough version of your idea helps you get valuable feedback from others that can help you determine the improvements you need to make in that particular idea in order to make it work.
People with a creative mindset often want their things to be perfect and that is fine. But perfect is always subject, what you may find perfect may not be perfect according to the market you are serving. So keep coming up with something and keep shipping it. Use the feedback you get to improve.
5) Really Push Yourself. Set yourself a goal to come up with a few ideas every single week or month and execute at least a few of them that look promising. You will be surprised how good you get at coming up with really great ideas when you force yourself to think and start churning out something or the other regardless of whether or not you consider it to be excellent.
Your capacity to produce amazing work grows when you place demands up on your self. It is no different than how you build muscles when excessive demand is placed upon them by lifting heavy weights. So you need to set yourself some goals. If you wish to become a writer, you need to aim to write something every day. If you are an artist, start work on something every day. If you are a business person then keep coming up with and executing ideas either related to your business or new business ideas altogether. A lot of it will fail but some will not.
Finally, the first ideas you come up with are probably not going to be great, because your brain is used to a particular mode of thinking, but jot them down and execute them whenever possible, at least come up with a rough version if the idea looks even slightly bit promising. Whether it works or not, is irrelevant. You will never come up with great things if you keep waiting for the perfect idea. An execution of an imperfect idea often yields much greater results than a perfect idea you keep waiting for all your life but never act upon. So don’t be an individual with no ideas or one who keeps waiting for the perfect idea. Get it out there and keep hustling. Sooner or later something is going to work. Trust me.
About the Author
The writer of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
Email Anubhav Srivastava for coaching, consulting or motivational speaking queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Profile: http://facebook.com/anubhav981
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