Can you generate ten, twenty ideas at the drop of a hat in any situation? Do you like ambiguity and the challenge of messy problems? Do you like to riff off of other concepts? In a group, do feel like the only person who really gives a shit? Then you’re probably an ideas person. I should know, I’m one myself.
The image I created is pretty flattering, especially to those who identify with it. However, there’s a overlooked flip side. What happens when being an ideas person goes from being an asset to a liability? Sure, the only thing worse than too many ideas is having none at all. That hardly matters since both lead to the same dead end of atrophy.
The first step is recognizing when it’s time to stop generating ideas. The second isn’t to jump right into implementation. Instead, cherry pick the ideas you like best and start testing them. How you do this is really depends on the idea. I am going to work on future posts for this very topic.
Do a little soul searching too. Ask yourself whether this ability to generate lots of ideas is really just a defense mechanism for protecting your ego from failure, rejection, and criticism?
Being good at generating a lot of ideas can get in the way of actually doing something. Over time, people will become less and less interested in hearing what you have to say.
It’s one thing to be clever, but the money is really in being resourceful. Resourceful people are good at coming up with ideas too. They just happen to be trying to figure out how to execute not just come up with concepts.
In the end, let implementation and results be the ultimate arbiter of greatness.