Stop Hoarding Your Ideas…
It seems like everyone in the world hoards ideas. But how does that actually benefit them? It doesn’t and that’s what I (Phil Svitek) overview in today’s lesson. By ideas, I don’t mean your random thoughts or #fakelife on social media. I mean it in a much deeper and richer sense. Ideas, to me, encompass insights learned from life and concepts you generate. Yes, they make you vulnerable but there’s a worse alternative – I go over it in depth in the lesson. What’s more amazing to look at though is that the most successful people in the world, and companies, freely share information. So why wouldn’t you? Discover why you should stop hoarding your ideas immediately and default to open as Google might say. Share your journey. Share your knowledge. It will benefit you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. As always, thank you for allowing me to share my ideas with you and please be sure to comment with any questions or thoughts you may have.
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Welcome my fellow content creator! It’s a pleasure to have you join me virtually and allow me to share this lesson with you. As you may already be aware, it takes more than just talent and skills to make it. One must master mental fortitude and that’s the aim of this series!
Today, I want to impart on you a simple idea which is to stop hoarding your ideas. This goes for everybody out there. If I’m being honest, it’s one of the biggest pet peeves I have, apart from drivers not signaling when making turns. Start doing that!
But seriously! Stop hoarding your ideas.
Now, what exactly do I mean by this? Ideas in this context are meant to embody insights and concepts. It does not mean your random thoughts or #fakelife on social media. I mean it in the deeper, more meaningful sense. Let’s tackle each, starting with insights.
Insights are anything you learn along the way. Anything you can share with the world in order to contribute wisdom. This may be my sentimental side speaking, but Hoda, from The Today Show, imparted this on me as I listened to her on the Meaningful Conversations with Maria Shriver podcast. She spoke about being on a plane and a stranger gifting her with this idea that everyone’s journey is for everyone because you never know how it can help someone else.
Many spiritual leaders, thinkers, successful people say that when you help others your life has more meaning. So why not share what you’ve learned along the way? We all like to pretend that we don’t fail because society’s made it be the world’s worst thing. But it isn’t. It’s how we react to it that counts. It is this resilience and newfound tactics we need to be letting people know so they don’t repeat the same mistakes. How else are we all going to get better?
I’ll get into this much deeper in a few moments, but how does it help you to keep someone else down? That’s ultimately what you’re doing if you don’t share what you’ve learned. It’s part of the human condition to pass on our knowledge to newer generations. Doesn’t mean they’ll always listen, but even if they grasp 10% of it, that’s better than nothing.
I understand I’m preaching to the choir a little. The simple fact that you’re listening to this episode means you value knowledge and must appreciate me sharing this with you. Well guess what? If it wasn’t for amazing people that did the same, I wouldn’t know what I know. And I hope you share what you learn from me and others with those around you. It’s how we collectively grow.
It’s no different than the idea that if a society is healthier, you will inevitably become more healthier.
But sharing your experiences, while tough, can be much easier than sharing concepts. It is concepts that people hold on for dear life. They hoard these ideas to no end. I hear so many creatives say they have an idea but they absolutely refuse to share it with anyone. How does that help? In my experience, it doesn’t. Actually, it kills the idea.
Concepts, aka ideas, in order to take shape, need to enter the world. Quite literally. An idea is worth nothing if it just stays an idea. It’s potential. Potential only has value when it is executed.
Quite often individuals will come up to me and say I have an idea for a show. I say that’s fantastic, have you talked to this person about it? They’ll say no because “they don’t want the idea stolen”. Sometimes the person will become upset with me for having suggested it. My intention was not to get you ripped off, it was to point you in the direction to see it through. Sure, there’s always the chance you’ll get ripped off or taken advantage of. But is that any excuse to sit on the sidelines for the rest of your life?
Last week I talked about failure being a necessary step forward. If someone screws you over then that’s par for the course sometimes. Trust me.
Let me cut to the chase as to why I hate when people hoard their ideas, whether concepts or insights.
For one, they spend so much energy protecting that single idea that they never think a new thought again.
More importantly though, here’s what you’re really saying latch onto a concept. “I’m so untalented that all I could come up with is this one idea. And God forbid if someone does steal it because then I’ll have nothing left.” By holding onto your ideas for dear life you’re desperately clinging to a feeling of success that you haven’t actually achieved – at least not with that idea.
I try so hard to be creative and think new thoughts daily that if someone were to ever take an idea of mine I’d say great. Number one, they’re not going to execute it like me. That I know. And two, guess what – the novel idea they are taking from me is already old news for me. I’ve already thought of hundreds more. That is what I’d rather be using my energy on – creativity.
And you know what – I mean it when I say please take my ideas and run with them. Of course I mean it in the sense of these lessons and insights I’m sharing, but I also mean it from a concept standpoint. I know I don’t have the time to act upon every idea I’ve ever had, but I’d love to see some of them come to fruition, even if it’s not by me.
See, I find the world is full of ideas and not enough people who actually execute. Real value is in execution. And there are no two people that will execute the same idea the same exact way.
Secondly, it forces you to innovate. Complacency is a killer of creativity as much as fear or anything else. Toyota is a company notorious for sharing it’s so-called secrets with the rest of the car industry every year. Why do they do this? Because it means next year, they are forced to come up with new ways of being a top car company. The bonus, the rest of the world, aka the consumers, benefit from the other manufacturers having learned from what Toyota is doing. Google is similar to this. They default to open as is written in How Google Works, a truly wonderful book I can’t recommend enough.
I know from personal experience that when my back’s against the wall, I make shit happen. Because what other choice do I have? I could crumble of course but that doesn’t do me any good as much as it does no good to anyone else.
When you hoard ideas, you’re not trusting yourself. The more you trust yourself, the more you have the confidence to let your ideas take shape in the world.
And let me tell you a secret which some people I talk to hate to hear – your ideas aren’t that original. Especially in their first form, they are riddled with cliche. It is only through the lens of the real world that these ideas can begin to be dusted off and allow the diamond to appear.
After all, the point of art is to share it with the world and the best art in the world speaks to a universal truth within us all. In order to get to that truth, it takes patience but more importantly input. From my own experience, writing a novel, which is seemingly a solitary craft, requires input from people. And I know my experience is not unique. Stephen King, one of the greatest writers of our time, if not ever, has an editor who helps give his ideas form.
Here’s another secret if you will, which I’ve already alluded to but now let me really hammer it home. Even if two people have the same idea, they will execute it very differently. Heck, storytellers will argue there’s only two types of stories in the world – a stranger comes into town and a person goes on a journey. Assuming this is true, why are we so enthralled with all these TV shows and movies and books? It’s because of how those stories are told. Each offers a different perspective.
Stop hoarding your ideas and start telling people about them and what you’ll start to see is people will actually be attracted to the idea and you. Your passion for your idea will draw people to you, people who can either become fans of yours or people who can help you attain your dream. Both are equally great.
Remember, whether you’re hoarding your ideas or not, you’re expending energy of some kind. One just happens to be negative energy and one is positive. And so let me ask you this – who would you rather work with, someone who gives off negative energy or positive energy? I imagine, and hope, you said positive energy. Well, if that’s what applies to you in terms of looking outwardly at the world, how is it any different when the world looks at you? Do you think the creme de la creme of creatives strive be around and work with negative people who don’t share anything? No. Of course not. Contribute. That’s the name of the game. That’s how the world recognizes you as a leader. That’s what exercises your creative muscle because like all muscles, if left unused, it will wither away. Not the outcome you want. You are better than a single idea. You have hundreds. In fact, you have so many, your greatest challenge in life should be making each of them happen. And so I urge you, for all the reasons stated, default to open as Google says. Stop hoarding your ideas. Again, you may be ripped off at times, but so what? That’s the risk of being successful. Imagine if the invention of the computer was bottled up? Where would we be? Ideas only mean something when executed.
One final thought about why you should stop hoarding ideas – it’s narcissistic. We all want information to be shared with us. I certainly do. Well, that flow of information must be reciprocated. You can’t just take. You must contribute back.
And that’s today’s lesson. Stop hoarding ideas!
But before I wrap out, I want to give you a quick practical tip. Download Duolingo on your smartphone. Duolingo is a language learning app that’s free to use and has hundreds of languages. I recommend it especially if you’re someone trying to learn a new language like me but I also recommend it even if you weren’t actively looking to learn a new language. “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world,” said Wittgenstein. As creatives, learning new languages can open up your world in so many ways. It allows you to see new perspectives. New perspectives means easier access to universal truths. It allows you to speak with more people and enjoy more cultures and aspects of life and humanity. That might sound like hyperbole but it really isn’t if you stop and think about it. Once again, that’s the Duolingo app. I’ve been using it to learn French and it’s been a blast.
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