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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


September 10th, 2018

We all have ideas.  New ideas that we don’t see any implementation of anywhere.  How this or that could be better.  There’s abundant proof of this too, and unlike those ideas that could fix things, we see and experience that abundant proof everyday: it’s all that complaining we hear.


There are all manner of ideas, and many complaints, if turned inside-out can become excellent improvements to our lives.  Usually, however, we stop –imaginatively- at the complaint.


Every once in a while, we have a good idea, and we think we know it.  We wonder if it could be that coveted million-dollar idea.  What do we do with that idea?  Often, we do nothing.  And then years pass and we eventually see it expressed in some form in the market.  That million-dollar idea then turns into an I-told-you-so!  Which is a feeble attempt to recognize the mistake of an opportunity we failed to seize.  We squeeze some tiny drop of prestige out of our old idea.  And in doing so we forget to improve.  We forget, or we fear to honestly face the thought about taking a chance, so that next time we have a million-dollar idea, we might actually act on it.


The million-dollar idea that we do not act upon is like a diamond.  We treat it with a delicacy that springs from greed.  We don’t want too many people to know about it because it might get stolen, and we don’t play with it too much because we don’t want it to break or get scratched.


Having courage with a million-dollar idea is to switch perspectives, and recognize that it is just an idea.  It has very little value unless it is acted upon.  Such a mindset casts away the notion of looking at such an idea like a diamond.   Instead, we can think of such ideas more like seeds.


No two seeds are the same.  They are imperfect by design, because the purposely mixed up and flawed design promotes variety - variations that might flourish more successfully than their parents.  Most seed bearing plants and trees will produce a lot of seeds because some won’t make it.  But some will.  Some will be acted upon by the environment, and potentially flourish.  This is a better way to think about the ideas we have, because it opens up the possibility to have many avenues that lead towards some kind of success.  That million-dollar idea is really a misnomer.  It’s an idea that could lead to an improvement of society that society deems is worth a million dollars.  The key word here is could.  If we never act upon the idea, then society will never get the chance to love the product or indifferently pass on it.


Perhaps it’s the later possibility that keeps us from acting upon our ideas.  In this instance we must remember that trees produce many seeds in preparation for this sort of possibility.  Not all of them will work out – very few in fact.  So best to attempt many times with many variations.  That’s how you get a forest.


So is it better to greedily covet our ideas, so much so that we risk never acting upon them.  Or should we think of our ideas like a gardener does her seeds. 


Bury a few seeds.


But better than buried treasure, such ideas might sprout, and lead to a new and improved life.

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

Dive in to the Archives

Podcast Ep. 148: Million Dollar Idea: Diamond or Seed?

Tinkered Thinking

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