10 Reasons Why Idea’s Matter More Than Actions
Did you ever stop to ask yourself who sold us on the idea that a “hardcore 24/7 hustle, work, action, plus side gigs” mentality was the path to success? They might even be the same person that tried to sell us on the idea that “idea’s don’t matter, only action does.”
That person is robbing us of a natural-born ability and superpower.
And here’s why ideas can help you find success quicker than a “hardcore 24/7 action, action, action” mentality. But first, let’s look at some examples. (Just a forewarning, don’t read this if you haven’t watched the movie “The Founder” and don’t want any spoiler’s about it.)
Did you know Warren Buffett reads 4+ hours per day, and has done so for longer than some of us have been alive? What is he looking for? Probably idea’s.
Andrew Carnegie was rumored to go into the office less than 20 hours per week at the peak of his success. But early in his career, when he was working on railroads, he didn’t actually work on the railroads themselves. He was thinking of ideas to do railroads better!
How might Bill Gates complete his mission to rid the world of deadly viruses? Experimenting and investing in great ideas.
It’s said that Elon’s Musk Tweets (as silly as this sounds) have helped stock prices go up. What is he doing? Tweeting ideas that people are running with!
J.K. Rowling? How the heck do you come up with a world like Harry Potter with all it’s spells, characters, interactions, and more? Ideas. You don’t need to build the theme parks. The theme parks need the ideas.
Are you familiar with Ray Kroc’s story?
Most of us know it was the McDonald’s brother’s who came up with the idea for McDonald’s. And that it was Harry J. Sonneborn that gave Kroc the idea to “get into the real estate business.”
In the movie “The Founder,” Kroc was portrayed to be the archetype of the “action-taker” who will eat your lunch if all you have are ideas. But that’s bs, and Hollywood had to portray him a bit more ruthless to make the movie more exciting. But more than anything, the story of Ray Kroc demonstrates the huge importance of ideas.
Which leads us to our first reason why ideas matter more than actions.
Ideas Need to Mingle
Ideas themselves don’t work. Not because they need “action” to make them work. But because ideas need to mix with other ideas to work.
Ray Kroc needed the idea of bringing together McDonald’s and the Real Estate business to solve the financial and contractual problems he was facing. Bill Gates is still waiting for the right combination of technology, motivation, and system to liberate the world of deadly disease. Idea’s don’t work by themselves. They need to combine with other ideas to function or become massively successful.
The actions themselves are easy when good ideas come about. Let’s look at the story of Kroc again.
If we think about Ray Kroc, a struggling man in his 50’s hauling ice cream machines from American town to American town, he had a lot of reasons to desire more. At that time in his life, he just hadn’t found the right ideas that would help him go big enough.
But by the end of the film, we find out that the reason Ray Kroc just had to do something huge with McDonald’s was that he was inspired by the name. There was an idea there that inspired Kroc.
Let’s look at this another way.
What if you had a great idea that you knew had an 95% chance of success, whether it’s to make money, impress people, or something else? Wouldn’t you do the things you needed to take that action?
When you have a big enough idea that you’re passionate about, and you have enough desire to pursue it, the actions will come.
In fact, you’ve experienced this on a smaller scale.
Inspiration is Energy
Haven’t you ever had an idea big enough that made you jump out of bed or the shower to write down? Now let me ask you this, have you ever known that you had to do some “action” that made you want to stay in bed or the shower even longer? Of course.
We’re not talking about procrastination as that’s a separate problem. This is simply to explain how ideas themselves can be more powerful than the actions themselves.
But when you jump out of your seat to get started on an idea or write it down, you have to ask yourself, “where does that energy come from?” It’s not like you took 5 shots of caffeine straight to the face in an instant. Inspiration is energy.
Ideas are Things
Ever ask yourself what ideas are made of? This isn’t philosophy either, this is real deductive reasoning.
In order for something to take up the confines of your mind, it must “be” something. There must be some combination of chemicals, neurons, atoms, and more interacting for that idea to exist.
An idea is a thing. Ever heard the phrase “they said the first ‘thing’ that came to their mind?” And an idea can be for a physical “thing” like a new type of battery or it can be an intangible “thing” like a process or story. And what’s also important is…
Ideas (Things) Have Value
Even an “intangible” idea has value. An idea for a physical invention or artwork has value because it is physical. But even ideas such as a story or a character or plot twist has value for the right people.
J.K. Rowling pitched to many people before someone finally accepted her idea and helped her sell it. The idea of a fictional world with wizards, brooms, and sorcery to one publisher was valued much less than for the one that finally accepted her work. If they knew the value of it, or had the right ideas of what to do with her work, they would have worked with her.
Ideas Are Not Lazy
Consider this. What does it take to find a really good idea? Warren Buffett reads 4+ hours a day supposedly. How many ideas for business do you think he get’s every single day?
Most people could get at least one or two good ideas per week just from reading the Wall Street Journal each day. Without information from the outside world (see Idea’s Need to Mingle) it would be really tough to find a great idea. But let’s try.
What does it take to sit down with a pen and paper, and come up with a great idea that solves a real important problem? Try it.
Now when was the last time you got through a tough day at work at a job you didn’t enjoy just “doing” like the energizer bunny? You’re not a robot meant to just do what it was told to do.
Your mind was made to think and create! But it isn’t that easy (especially not today).
Effective vs More Effective Actions
There are many doers in the world. And there are many people and companies doing the same or similar ideas.
What separates them? The ideas to do things more effectively than others. There are trillions of dollars worth of patents and trademarks just to protect ideas that separate one business from the other.
Thought sitting down and coming up with a great idea is tough? Well it might be tough, but it doesn’t drain your energy the way media drains us.
Think about how much your brain has to ignore each and every waking moment in order to focus on a task. Fortunately our minds have become very good at “focusing” if we love doing something as you can tell when someone is entranced in a video game.
But if we take an activity like driving, your mind needs to know what to ignore, and what not to ignore. And today we work our mental filtering devices even harder because of media.
Every time our thumb scrolls up on our feed, we are tiring ourselves out. Every single headline, status update, image, advertisement and more makes our brain kick in and say “hmm should I read this or no?” It might not seem like a complex decision.
But we are doing that 2–4 hours per day which starts to add up creating both decision fatigue and reduces our ability to find good ideas.
How does it reduce our ability to find good ideas? Because there are so many bad ideas, or ideas in general that we start to feel as if all ideas are bad ideas, or not “great ideas,” even when good ideas are right under our noses.
Actions Are Tests
Remember how we talked about ideas as inspirations as energy?
When you get energized to act on an idea of your own free will (as opposed to doing it out of necessity such as for a mean boss), the action itself doesn’t necessarily bring the result.
The action brings about the idea. But the idea is ultimately the result you are looking to get. And if you didn’t get the idea as the outcome, then it was but a test of a way “not to do it.”
Let’s look at this in another situation.
What is a typical job made of? A typical job consists of getting plugged into a “system” and doing some sort of action or process that has been proven to work. Essentially, a company has tested that a certain action by some other individual works. So they hire someone to do it over and over.
The intention is not to criticize “the job.” The intent is to look at the typical job that humans were not meant to do. In fact, good things are happening with technology. Technology is shifting drastically so that machines do many jobs that we as people don’t need to be doing. Our ability to come up with ideas is wasted when we are plugged into a system that forces us to lose that ability.
And there are some wonderful, great jobs where we are positioned at a company to use our minds to come up with interesting ideas and make a lot of money.
Lack of Exercise
Not necessarily physical exercise, although physical exercise is highly recommended. But mental exercise, the exercise of training your brain to come up with good ideas.
If you can train your brain to be better at video games, become more emotionally intelligent, write better, get better at math, or be more creative, isn’t it also possible to come up with better ideas too?
And here is an astonishing exercise routine learned from a millionaire whose friends call him a genius. This is something you can get started on right now to unlock your ideation superpower.