The Best Way to Kill an Idea… Have Too Many Of Them

This is a post for dreamers, for idea-makers, and for anyone who has something they want to create, pursue or do. I wrote about it recently in the 5 Ways to Get More Done post but want to expand on it a little more.

You know what kills ideas?

Having too many of them and trying to chase them all at once.

Ideas themselves aren’t bad but trying to implement too many of them at the same time can be (I know, I used to do it myself). It’s like trying to be all things to all people, which will cause you to be nothing to no one.

If you have a dream or an idea you want to pursue, you must focus in on it. That’s the only way you’ll give it enough attention to make it happen.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do more than one thing at a time, it just means you need to be extremely careful not too try and do too many things at once without the proper plan, infrastructure or team. If you architect ideas (like this guy or this one) then you need to be disciplined enough to bring in others to help execute or the ideas won’t happen.

Trying to do it all yourself is the fastest way to paralysis and failure.

Either way, when you adopt an idea-focused perspective you must also get comfortable with saying NO. You can’t say YES to your dream without saying NO to something else… and that’s hard. There are a lot of really good opportunities out there but are they great and do they help you get your idea done?

Good distracts from great and the sooner you come to grips with that, the closer you’ll be to making your idea happen.

If you want to get your _[insert idea here]__ done and are serious about it then you must develop an idea-filter which will serve as a guardrail that you can run every choice through in order to help you stay on course.

That happens when you start asking yourself questions like:
1. Does this new or other opportunity match the direction of my primary idea?
2. Will it help me reach my goal?
3. Will it be a distraction?
4. Do I have the support system to pursue it?

Everything must run through the idea-filter and you must choose. Great things are made by hard choices. It’s just how it is. If it were easy then everyone would do it but you’re not everyone are you? You can bring that idea to maturity but you must focus in on it and either pursue it with a passion or let it go.

Questions: How do you deal with ideas? Does having too many of them get in the way? What have you learned that helps you implement your ideas?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Mike Pilliod

    True. But I tend to think in a "system wide" manner. Let me explain…

    When I have an idea, there are ramifications for getting that idea in place that sometimes are far ranging…and those things, in order for the ultimate idea to take shape, must also be in place. So, sometimes, a single idea can require wholesale changes in the manner with which something is currently being done. But then again, my ideas tend to be of philosophical nature and not detail in nature; once the philosophy is in place, all the details MUST work along side with and for said philosophical idea. Make sens?

    I'm just not a big one for ideas that only act as bandaids to problems. Problems have roots. And roots need to be found, dug up, cut out, and sprayed with poison! And then you can place in the opening what you wanted in the first place. I think many of my ideas tend to work best for "upstarts" because the upstart has nothing in place currently and the established organizations tend to hold on to their detrimental ideas and processes in the face of evidence.

    • I think I see what you're saying but ideas aren't worth much unless we act on them in some way. Philosophical ideas are a bit different than tangible, executable ideas. I'm talking more about things and actions than thoughts. Ideas that require movement to make materialize.

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  • Nail on the head for me. Great post! At a crossroads right now and this is EXACTLY the post I needed to help me gain some focus. Thank you.

    • Glad to hear that Jeff. Love to hear how it all turns out for you.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  • this is good. my grandmother used to say, you won't get any new ideas unless you give some away. while i think that's true (i love brainstorming with people) i'm starting to learn now, that it also means saying no to some ideas that don't continue to pursue you, in favour of the ones that do. thanks.

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