Unsolicited Ideas, and Your Next Idea [Daily Game]

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James Altucher has a podcast that I like; I listen to every episode. I credit James for one important breakthrough in my life: Strengthening my idea muscle.

James advises his readers to do what he did to get himself out of a rut in his past that he calls his Daily Practice: something for your mind, spirit, money and body each day. Look him up and read his own explanation if you want to know more. James’ workout for his kind is to come up with ten ideas per day — they don’t have to be good or even useful ideas, just ideas — to strengthen his mind.

James once sent ten ideas for potential blog posts to Jim Cramer, a well-established voice in the financial world. Cramer liked the ideas and offered James a suggestion: You write these articles, and I’ll pay you for your work. James did, and resurrected what had been (at the time) a broken career for him.

I started doing the idea daily practice in 2014 to mixed results. 2015 was up and down for about half the year, then I got serious about it. Now I wrote down thousands of ideas every year in my tracking app. Everything you know me for doing came from one of those ideas.

Every now and then, a person messages me, suggesting some type of content I should make or a topic I should address on my podcast or on YouTube or in a blog post. Most of these suggestions suck, mostly because they’re self-serving and have been suggested only to please the person offering them— they care about the topic and are thinking about it, and now want me to care about it, which I usually don’t. And, I come up with literally thousands of ideas per year; I don’t really need unsolicited ideas. When I want some really good ones that I can’t create, I go to some trusted sources — a number of people I can count on my fingers. I do take ideas from my audience — in the form of their genuine challenges and questions and exchanges I have with people. That’s where most of my stuff comes from.

99% of the ideas/suggestions people send me need to be returned to sender (HoopHandbook, conversely, was a 1% idea). I wrote about his 5 years ago(some of that I’ve change my perspective on, but the general idea still stands). Not because I’m mean or not open to input. They need to be sent back because the person offering it needs to be the one doing it. I want to create creators, not consumers.

But the tactic actually works — I made this post, after all, right?

(350 people will think this post is about them. It is, and it’s not at the same time. Write about it — just not to me.)

For Your Game

  1. If you have a great idea, or even a good one, prove it: Execute on it. I usually don’t trust ideas from people who haven’t worked their own ideas. It’s like buying a product from someone who doesn’t own what they sell. Do you rest believe in it?
  2. If you’re looking for something and can’t find it, your idea is right there in your lap. That’s how many businesses start, by the way. That’s how my podcast started. Spanx comes to mind; go and listen to some of Sara Blakely’s interviews (she’s been on Altucher).
  3. [Insert your idea here]

What ideas do you need to stop talking about and execute on? Reply and tell me — maybe I can help.