How do you get a great new idea? First, allow
yourself to look for wild, outlandish ideas and solutions, even if they seem impossible
at first. As Einstein put it: "If at first an idea is not absurd, then there
is no hope for it." Yet at some point, we've all been guilty of saying -
either out loud or to ourselves, "That's a crazy idea - forget it."
To which we can imagine Einstein countering: "Got a crazy idea? Let's take
a look!" The lesson? Be daring.
Philosopher Betrand Russel advised:
"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was
once eccentric." What was "once eccentric?" Just about everything.
The wheel. Books. Democracy. Women's suffrage. Civil rights. Cars. Planes. Computers.
Everything you plug into the wall - and everything you used to plug in.
is, of course, a major WARNING attached: Should you dare to be daring, one thing
is sure: You will be ridiculed, belittled, and worse. "All truth," wrote
Schopenhauer, "passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second,
it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident." Or, as Mark
Twain put it: "The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."
Yet being called a "crank" (or worse) can also be viewed as something
quite positive; a "bell weather" forecasting good things to come. As
Ted Turner put it, "If you've got an innovative idea and the majority does
not pooh-pooh it, then the odds are you must not have a very good idea."
Turner should know; early doubters called fledgling CNN, "Chicken Noodle
Your own opposition - your personal pack of naysayers and
doubters - may include bosses, coworkers, spouses, in-laws, and more. Having this
article gives you the edge. Print it out and use it to (1) keep yourself going,
(2) swat away opponents, or (3) stick it under their noses, pointing to where
it says: According to Einstein, "Great spirits have always encountered violent
opposition from mediocre minds."
© 2006 Joel Saltzman
Saltzman is a speaker, facilitator and consultant who teaches people in
Shake That Brain! and discover solutions for maximum profit.
latest book is "Shake That Brain!" (Wiley, 2006).
He can be reached
Toll Free at 877-Shake It! (877-742-5348)