Very Clear Ideas: The Short Version

Charles Davies
Published in
2 min readNov 11, 2016


Whatever you’re working on, it pays to know what you’re doing.
But how do you know if it’s the right thing?
How do you get it clearer if it’s not clear?

There are two tricks you can use.
You check if it’s clear by changing perspective.
You get it clearer by talking about it.

The Very Clear Ideas process gets you to do both of these things.

Instead of just asking yourself “Is this a good idea?”, when you go through the Very Clear Ideas process you ask that question seven times, from slightly different perspectives: practical, natural, conceptual, emotional, material, ideal and personal. So you don’t just ask “Is this a good idea?” you ask:

Is this what I live for?
Is this what I dream of?
Is this what I wish for?
Is this what I love?
Is this what I demand?
Is this what I want?
Is this what I need?

If you get seven yeses, you know it’s a good idea.
(And the way you’ve checked is by changing perspective.)

Try it with any idea you’re currently working on.

If the answer to any of the questions is no, then you know that, from that perspective, the idea isn’t clear. So you can get it clearer by talking about it.
The simple trick for talking about it is switching out the closed (or ‘yes/no’) question for an open (or ‘what?’) question. So instead of “Is this what I want?” I ask myself “What do I want?” and see what comes up.

What do I live for?
What do I dream of?
What do I wish for?
What do I love?
What do I demand?
What do I want?
What do I need?

You only need to ask the open question if you need more clarity.
And you only need more clarity if your first answer was a no.
Keep on talking until your initial no turns into a yes.
(And the way you get clear is by talking about it.)

These are the very basics of the Very Clear Ideas process.
You can read more about it here or buy the Very Clear Ideas cards.

The point:

  1. We should all test our ideas (before we start work on them)
  2. We should get them clearer if they’re not clear.
  3. It’s not difficult.

I developed the Very Clear Ideas process from scratch over the last ten years as a way to help entrepreneurs get clearer on their projects. It might look simple now, but it’s been through *many* iterations and the current version is tried and tested — used with hundreds and hundreds of people and their projects.