A lot of us have bright ideas, dreams and aspirations, however one of the hazards we all have to face is sharing those bright ideas with someone. I refer to it as a hazard because even though sharing new ideas is an unavoidable rite of passage, it sometimes comes with weird reactions, particularly from people you consider to be in your inner circle. So you have a fabulous new idea of opening a restaurant in space, or creating a device that allows you to read people’s minds through their smile, or creating a whole new genre of music just like Fela did; but when you share this idea with a significant person in your life, they just go “Err, this can’t work.” It may seem completely ridiculous to you that someone you trust and hold in high esteem cannot see the appeal of a “spaceturant” and in as much as you might feel upset about that, I think the most likely feeling you would have is discouragement or a sense of deflation.
Let me break it down real quick. You see, discouragement sets in easily in situations like this because one of the reasons you shared the idea in the first place was to receive encouragement. If you don’t get this encouragement, your idea bubble begins to slowly deflate, and for some of us, that has been the end of many good ideas. Another reason we get discouraged is because an idea is our little baby, and the first people who get to see this baby are those closest to you, usually your partner or members of your family. Now imagine you just had a baby and your parents go “Wow, this child definitely didn’t take our looks, I hope she looks better as she grows older.” Thinking of the nine months you carried the baby, or supported your spouse who did it, your reaction will probably be borderline violent, irrespective of how the baby actually looks. This analogy is apt in relation to our ideas, and sometimes, we get violent or at least upset with or friends or family when they do not understand our Einstein moment.
The point of this post (as there must always be a point) is that just because someone is unable to see your idea as valid does not mean the idea is not valid. A trusted person’s failure to encourage you does not make the person bad or unintelligent. I think what is important is to find that very precious balance between knowing when to defy the odds and still execute an idea, or when to take a step back and actually re-evaluate. It is a precious balance, because it is not easily found, but what will probably never go wrong is more research into your idea. So when you receive this criticism, irrespective of how perfect you feel the idea is, you can do a little more research and then decide whether you want to execute your idea as it is, or if you want to fine-tune the idea. Finally, I must say that it is important for you get your drive and validation from within, because sometimes, even the greatest external motivation is never motivation enough, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try to make others see the value of your idea, sadly they never will.
Please share your experiences with any “spaceturant” ideas you have had, and how you dealt with discouraging reactions when you shared the ideas.