I know the first person who rejects your ideas: you.
My Dad used to be a quality control inspector for electronic products. His job is to ensure that the incoming and outgoing products for the manufacturing company meet the standards. Somehow, we’re a lot like him.
We’re the quality control inspector of our ideas.
Whether it’s a childhood dream or a concept for a large-scale project, we filter what stays in our heads and what sets sail into the real world. More often than not, we hold back 80% of our ideas because of the best excuse ever: I’m not ready.
While replaying Ship 30 for 30’s Meet & Greet Call for the June cohort, Nicolas Cole shared a quote that inspired this atomic essay: “You can’t steer a stationary ship.”
Sometimes, we focus on “perfecting” not because the idea isn’t ready to be shipped, but because we ourselves are not ready to face the waves that it might encounter. We worry others might not care or like it, and we’re not sure we want to hear that.
But feedback is a game-changer.
It can help us develop seeds of ideas into full-blown successes. Or ditch barren pursuits and explore new gardens. If we know how to listen, we can test more ideas. We can improve them as we go and learn from each experience.
So what if, instead of approaching our ideas as quality control inspectors, we borrow the mindset of innovators?
Your ideas will never be 100% perfect and right the first time.
Still, will you give them a chance?
You associate Edison with light bulbs. Or phonographs. Or the company General Electric. If you type the keywords "Thomas Edison patents" on Google, most results will tell you how he obtained over 1,000 patents for his inventions!
But you'll rarely read about 500 to 600 of his unsuccessful patents.
What am I getting at?
You and I will have good and great ideas—successes that others will more often highlight in our lives. But we will have bad and terrible ones too. And that is absolutely okay!
Because every bad song, uninteresting painting, or boring book paves the way for brilliant masterpieces. The flawed firsts could eventually yield phenomenal legacies.
So it all boils down to this question:
Would you rather have 1000 successful and 500 unsuccessful pursuits or 0 rejection and 0 progress?