I used to think that a new idea was the greatest thing in the world. Or that being labeled an “idea guy” was a crowning achievement, one of the highest honors you could receive in business or in life.
But, over time, my view has changed. I’ve gone from being in a healthy relationship with new ideas to more of an “it’s complicated” Facebook status. I’ve found that there’s a very thin line between “idea guy” and dorm room stoner; and while having new ideas may make me feel like I’m a poor man’s Elon Musk, in reality it probably looks more like Keanu from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
The problem with new ideas is they are a disguised version of writer’s block. With traditional writer’s block, I’m standing still, no idea where to go. With the idea-overload version, I’m switching between different maps, ooh let’s try this, ooh let’s try that, walking around in circles until I’m back to where I started.
The end result is the same for both: there’s no actual progress being made.
To hijack a couple verses from Proverbs, swapping in “new ideas” for “prostitute,” I think this sums it up pretty well:
The lips of (new ideas) drip with honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
Alright, maybe a little bit intense, but it still fits pretty well. New ideas seem perfect on paper, always more attractive than the current project. But I always forget that, eventually, when the actual work begins, this new idea will run into the same challenges that the last “great” idea ran into. And, when that moment happens, a different new idea will sprout up and begin the process all over again. Her feet go down to (creative) death.
And yet, I keep falling for it. Even if I know the new idea is a distraction, I will still write it down, save it for later. I treat each new idea like it could be worth millions of dollars. I have to hang onto it; heaven forbid I share the idea with someone else, share it with someone who could actually do something with it. No, it needs to stay locked away. I essentially turn into Gollum from Lord of the Rings; I’m not going to use it, but no one else can have it either. It’s my precious.
But no more! From now on, in the last post of every month, I will share a Medium Rare idea–either a business idea, book idea, movie, TV show, TV commercial, who knows what else–and then it’s open season. Yours for the taking. If one of these ideas makes you a multimillionaire, hey, write me a check that seems fair. On the flip-side, if it leads to bankruptcy, I take no legal or moral responsibility.
Public Speaking on Airplanes
The Number 1 fear in America is flying on an airplane. Number 2 is public speaking.
Which means a very high portion of the population is affected by one of these fears. And a decent amount suffer from both. I know I suffer from some nerves in both areas.
And the problem with these two fears, unlike fear of spiders or snakes, is it can directly impact a job. No one is throwing a tarantula at you when you walk into the office, but they will ask you to present to a team, or hop on a flight to California. Both of these can feel like a death sentence.
This is where “Public Speaking on Airplanes” comes in. It’s a 10-day course with 25-50 other classmates who join you on a series of flights where everyone gives speeches up in the air.
Starts small, the flight is from Chicago to Detroit, and on the speech side everyone gives just a 30-second name/where they’re from/interesting fact. Next day, little bit longer flight, little bit longer speech. Following day, same thing, leading up to the final challenge when people are giving a full Shakespearean monologue on a direct flight from Los Angeles to Japan.
Now, yes, this idea definitely has its flaws and logistical questions. Would this be a private plane? If so, that sounds really expensive. If not, and it’s like a flash mob taking place on a regular flight, aren’t the other customers going to be annoyed? Would it be a 10-day course or 10 weeks? Would people pay out of their own pocket? Would the company pay? Would you need to get American Airlines or Southwest on board?
That’s for you to figure out. I’m like a grandparent who gets to hang out with their grandkid, loads them up with chocolate chip cookies, then hands them back. Here you go! I just supply the new ideas, I don’t actually build them.
But, if I were to try and solve, I think what I would do is target vice president and c-suite executives. Two reasons, the cost aspect and also because these are people that need to be speaking and traveling pretty regularly.
The instructor would need to be someone semi-famous, have a viral Ted Talk at a minimum. And I would actually make the 10-days be consecutive. That way the class is facing their fears every day, building that element of exposure therapy. The best way to conquer a fear is make it a daily occurrence. There’s nothing scary about the mundane activity. No one’s scared of brushing their teeth.
How cool would this class be? Hop on a flight, give a speech, hang out in a new city for the rest of the day. Go out and drink with your classmates. Chicago, Detroit, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo. It would be part valuable business course, part vacation. And, because it only lasts 10-days, whoever is running this course could have multiple sessions in a year. Multiple sessions in a month.
So, what’s the final price? Again, that’s your call. But please, take this idea.
Medium Rare will have posts every Monday and Wednesday through the end of June. Here are the three most recent:
Or, if you’re really fired up and want to read more than a 1,000 word blog, hey, that’s awesome! Here are a few longer works available for sale on Amazon:
Toilet Bowl – A novel about worry, love, and urinal cakes.
Medium Rare – Where this Medium Rare journey began, published in 2012.
Moving Sucks – Just in time for moving season!
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