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Your Idea is Dumb

Have you ever had an amazing idea that others thought wasn’t so amazing? Have you ever seen a product in a store and thought “how on Earth did that ever make it to production?”

What’s worse is when that idea actually becomes really popular and successful. I can think of a few things that I’ve seen that surprised me, like Snuggies.

I’ve never understood why those backwards bathrobes made it to production, and I’m even more baffled why they succeeded, but clearly the designer saw something that I didn’t.

I’ve even seen Snuggies for dogs! Regardless of my opinions, they’ve been successful and continue to succeed. For every brilliant idea out there, there are many critics of it before it makes it into production.

Listen To Your Critics

When you have an idea, you take it to your typical network of people to get their opinions. Often, that will consist of friends, family, and chances are they won’t see your idea the way that you do. Isn’t that the reason you took it to them anyway?

If you have an honest network, you might even come away feeling like it was the worst idea ever thought of. You have to be open minded enough to step back from your idea and really ask if it is a good idea.

But Don’t Believe Them

You have to consider who your critics are, what advice they’ve given in the past, and if they have an interest in your idea not working. You also have to consider if you’re the only person in your network qualified to see the brilliance of your idea.

Not everyone is a visionary, but what makes this task difficult is not being arrogant. You can’t just assume that everyone is less intelligent than you.

You have to take off your blinders, step back, and really look at your idea. Is there a market, is there a demand, do you already have competitors, and can you do it better than them? These are some of the things you need to consider.

It is either dumb, or brilliant

Every idea has critics, and it is your job to figure out if that is the case. Is your idea actually dumb, or can your critics just not see the value? Here are some famous examples of visionaries who saw the value:

  • Walt Disney faced many critics when he decided to buy swampland in the middle of Florida to build a little known theme park named Disney World.
  • Pixar faced huge adversity in their very beginning and came close to failing multiple times before Steve Jobs believed in them and stepped in. Even George Lucas didn’t believe in them.
  • A group of musicians were told that their band would go over like a Lead Balloon by Keith Moon of the Who. Thus, Led Zepplin was born.

These people were told “no” when they knew the answer was “yes.” They were told that their ideas were dumb, but they had the vision to see the value that others couldn’t. If you have a great idea, you need to listen to what your critics are saying, and figure out how/if they are wrong. If they have genuine concerns that you are unable to address, then you may want to consider them more closely.

Critics Are Valuable

Critics are a goldmine because they tell you things that others will be afraid to tell you. It doesn’t make them right, it just makes them honest. You must have the vision to see the value, but the honesty to see the truth. Many people have lost everything betting on bad ideas because they couldn’t accept that they were wrong, or had a dumb idea.

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