Scott Shaver, April 25th, 2016
We’re coming down the final stretch now. There’s only a few weeks left in the semester (and my college career, for that matter), and we’re talking about the most important pieces of wisdom I’ve picked up – the things I’ve learned that will change the way I live the rest of my life.
Today, I want to focus on just one thing. It may not be the most practical thing I’ve learned in college, but I believe in it just as much as I believe in the power of humble leadership or the value of reading good books.
I want to talk about the inherent value of ideas.
Ideas are the lifeblood of the business world. They’re the driving force behind every successful business and every successful person. No company has ever accomplished something worthwhile without being based on an incredible idea. Apple was founded on the idea that a computer should be accessible and useful for everyone. Southwest was based on the idea that flights should be inexpensive enough for anyone to fly, and that customers should thoroughly enjoy that experience. These are more than just valuable ideas – they’re the foundation of these companies.
The same goes with people. No one has ever achieved purposeful success by keeping their head down and quieting creativity. No, it’s the innovators, problem-solvers and ideators who make a difference in this world. As our working world moves away from performing tasks and towards creatively solving problems, the value of ideas only grows.
I love this process. I’ll spend days or weeks entranced with some idea, working through it over and over in my head until it becomes fully formed and heads towards practicality. And there’s value in that process for me. It’s relaxing and joyful to work on solving a new problem. I feel like I’m at my best when I’m creating.
I’ve learned a few things in this process:
1. Creating is fun, but applying ideas is hard.
I’m a dreamer, but not necessarily a schemer. I’ve found that having people around who can make good ideas a reality is an absolute necessity.
2. The best ideas solve a problem that a lot of people deal with.
This lines up with the work that Apple and Southwest are doing. Creativity has the capacity to make this world a little bit of a brighter place. When you’re dreaming, try to focus on things that will help the people around you. I guarantee good ideas will flow from that place.
3. Creativity is rarely sparked by watching TV.
The best ideas aren’t found in an endless backlog of Netflix shows. They’re most often found in the pages of good books, in conversations with close friends and through the process of reflection.
What’s churning in your mind right now? What’s the idea you can’t get out of your head, and what steps are you going to take next to make it a reality? If you’re not currently chewing on an idea, what could you be doing differently to get your brain on a creative track?
I believe so much in the power of good ideas, and in the process of ideation. Quite simply, I believe ideas change the world.
You have valuable ideas. I hope you believe that. Don’t let fear quiet them. Your ideas have the capacity to change the world. Speak your mind.
Until our next adventure,