We have an idea for a book we want to write; a business we want to set up; or a product we want to create…and we feel an urge to ask someone what they think.
So who do we turn to?
Someone who has actually written a book, set up a business, or created a new product?
Nope. We ask Joe Bloggs down the road, or a friend or family member (preferably one not exactly brimming with creativity or entrepreneurial spirit).
Then we act surprised and feel crap when we reveal our grand idea and they look at us like we have two heads.
Worse, they squish our idea (and enthusiasm) using one of three cunning methods:
- They roll their eyes and tell us our idea is rubbish and “it will never work”.
- They look at us blankly and are so disinterested they can’t actually be arsed to open their mouth to make any sort of comment.
- They quickly change the subject and before you know it, you’re discussing the merits of fly fishing, or something equally enthralling, for the next five hours.
This kind of thing happens to me all the time.
Amazingly, I never learn. I keep doing the same thing, hoping for a different response. (It never happens.)
Recently it has occurred to me that perhaps, just maybe, I am speaking to the wrong people.
Possibly I should keep my big mouth shut and be more selective about whose opinion I seek. As author Geoff Thompson says;
“If you want to be a champion swimmer, it’s better to speak to a champion swimmer than some guy who does a few lengths at the local pool at the weekend. If you want to be a millionaire then hang around millionaires.”
Makes sense, right? I also like this quote about critics and negativity:
“It is not the critic who counts. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood… who, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Note to self: Only approach people for advice IF they are in the arena OR have won the battle and got the hell out of there.
Do NOT, I repeat NOT, ever approach someone who is watching from the sidelines (especially if they have the hint of a sneer on their face).