There’s nothing like the rush of that brilliant Eureka Moment. When you conjure up a grand scheme with mind-blowing potential. A wicked smile sweeps across your face as you already see your boss nodding with approval, your colleagues wide-eyed with awe. Perhaps a standing ovation?
Then your moment arrives, your presentation skills are polished (thanks Udemy), and it’s your time to shine.
Midway through your presentation, Jim from HR sticks his hand up, “What about this?” Your boss likes it and suddenly your idea will be a tree in a theatre show.
What just happened? How could they not comprehend the potential of your masterpiece? It’s like you’re going through a breakup.
Well, we’re here to tell you that the best way to avoid a breakup, is not to commit at all.
You should believe in your idea and give it the recognition it deserves but in the famous words of JD Rockefeller, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”
Avoid a bruised ego by keeping these things in mind the next time your idea gets archived:
There is no place for monogamy here
Before you go snitching to your SO, let me explain: Great execution is the marriage of many great ideas. Don’t dwell on one concept because you became emotionally invested – there are plenty where that came from.
Welcome criticism and group involvement as a method to refine your ideas. Don’t give up on your idea but let it grow, not stagnate. A different perspective can open a whole new world. A new fantastic point of view da da da ♪♪
See your idea as a spark
So, your idea got snubbed. Don’t be bummed, it is entirely possible that you’ve at least inspired something new. Respect the process of creativity and take credit for bringing colour to the mix.
Thomas Edison is famous for his many botched inventions, but he did not dwell on his disasters. It is no secret that he failed a thousand times before well, he got a lightbulb idea.
His Electric Pen concept was an epic failure, but it did introduce further possibilities. Many credits his idea as being the inspiration for the modern tattoo gun, which works in a similar way.
“If you want to build a ship. Don’t drum up the men to gather wood. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Feedback is necessary
Nobody is always right, except of course the client (Yes sir, we love your idea to park your ship in the Suez Canal). Forbes however disagrees and this brings me back to: Nobody is always right.
Inevitably you will encounter criticism, but don’t be offended – dust yourself off and get back into the game. How you handle the criticism will be the difference between sulking and learning.
Feedback whether positive or negative is absolutely necessary and you should encourage it. Use it as a tool to keep the team on track, improve communication, and form healthy relationships.
Your idea is great but…
There is a pesky little psychological phenomenon that scientists call Motivated Reasoning. We don’t mean to burst your bubble, but your conclusion is most likely unconsciously motivated by your preferred outcome of a specific event.
The competency of a referee is never argued if a penalty is in your favour because of course your desired outcome is to win. When the same ref calls a penalty against you, his state of mind is questioned, and you dramatically throw the remote against the wall.
Likewise, when your ideas get rejected, your first reaction might be to nit-pick the verdict rather than the idea. That’s because your desired outcome (the pat on the back or that promotion you’re eyeballing) is compromised.
It’s comforting to hide behind the fact that many great ideas were rejected before becoming revolutionary (I’m looking at you, JK Rowling). But it’s important to keep in mind that our judgment is strongly influenced by our emotions, experiences, and beliefs.
A Dutch humanist once said: “QUOT HOMINES TOT SENTENTIÆ” which translates into “there are as many opinions as there are men.”
Your idea may be great, not-so-great, or somewhere in between, but if you don’t brave the criticism, you’ll never know.
Got rejected? Here are some insane rejections throughout history:
“lacks imagination and had no good ideas”
“below the common standard of intellect”
“an immoral corrupter of youth”
“you just don’t know how to use the English language”
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