How To Control Your Weapons of Mass Distraction

When you have a new idea, what do you do with it? Do you immediately jump on it and get to work or do something with it that day? I’ve had a lot of ideas in my life before and usually when I got really excited about something, I would just jump on them and get to work right away or I would get down on myself and say I can’t really do that. I would have one extreme or the other.

As an entrepreneur online, I’ve got in the habit of thinking I can do where my new idea. I’ve seen the same challenge in other entrepreneurs online that when there’s a new idea it often seems so great that it has to be started immediately today and that you’ve got to rush straight into it and get to work on it before it’s too late, before someone steals it or before you forget it. My general rule now is a 24 hour cooling off period for all new ideas.

That means if I have a great new idea do a new type of activity online, usually what I’ll do is say that if it’s a really good idea, I’ll still be excited about it tomorrow or the day after that. I have a lot of things that seem like a great idea one day and the next day I realize it was just a weapon of mass distraction. The reason, I guess, this happens is that often new ideas seem so important or so exciting because there’s something I’m trying to avoid doing that is more in the course of my work every day. For example, I get an email something I’m not sure how to handle and then I’m taking a new idea on in order to avoid doing that actual work.

Entrepreneurs, especially get a reputation online for not being able to finish things. I know a lot of my life, I wasn’t able to finish things because I had a lot of new ideas faster than I could finish things and I would get half way into an idea, actually executing it and then a new idea would take me off in a different direction and then what you have, like in graduate school I did this, is a bunch of half-finished ideas which is actually worse than not doing anything at all most of the time because then you tie up all this time and energy in those half-finished ideas. Then you have this guilt and shame about not finishing it and then you start getting this idea that you’re the kind of person that doesn’t finish things, when really what happens is the new ideas take the place of the pain of whatever challenge you were trying to avoid in the last idea. So what I do to not allow myself to simply go around challenges with new ideas, I table my new ideas for at least a day.

For example, if I have a new course idea, I usually don’t go through with the course right away unless it’s something based on what I’ve already done and if I have the opportunity to do something new. For example, if I’m in the middle making a course and I suddenly get a great new idea, I generally will put it down on my ideas for courses to do and finish the existing course because usually it’s much better to finish what you have already started then it is to stop it and try something new.

This doesn’t work all the time. Not all of these things are general principles, they all have exceptions. I have found is that having a good course that’s finished is a lot better than having a great idea that never gets finished. The irony is all of my great courses started out  as a great idea so at what point do they not become a good idea?

This happens when they get a little challenging or things don’t go as planned, or when I start to see that the great idea I had is only going to come out as something good in the short term that could be something great with a lot more love and attention in the future, but in the short term, it’s only going to be good at best.

Once that steam rolls out of the new idea, then this fantasy that this other great idea that’s even better consistently comes into play and I run into that a lot online with people that want to start new things with me all the time. I think that’s great and I’m honored to get all these invitations for joint ventures and working together. For me, continuing doing what I’m doing is working much better than trying to start up these new things all the time. In fact, taking away from what I’m already doing tends to cost me more than it does get more.

That is a general life lesson. When you stick to doing something you enjoy, deviating from it will usually cost you, but I noticed in talking with a friend Jordan. He says “I don’t even know what I really enjoy doing.” For a lot of my work online I didn’t know what I enjoyed doing either. A lot of my work was jobs and school I didn’t really know what I enjoyed doing either. If you want to figure out what you enjoy doing it’s a journey of discovery. I like to discover, get to know myself, and figure out what work it is that I do that I really enjoy doing, that I would do if it didn’t pay, that I would do just for fun, that it is fun to do.

That takes a lot of effort. For some people it’s writing, for some people it’s making videos, for all of us I think it changes at various stages of our lives. The new ideas that come into life tend to reflect where there is some excitement. When you get a new idea, don’t’ just jump into it next time. Maybe give it a try. Try waiting a little bit and see how much you like it because within a new idea is your passion, is something you want to do and it may be a little hard to find sometimes if your new idea is related to a means to an end.

If your new is something like one of my old ideas of putting Google custom search engines library search engine bars and then I would get a part of the ad revenue when people used search engines and I sat down to do that one day it was frustrating it took a while and I just rushed into it thinking it was going to be great and I’m going to make all this money and I can’t prove to you I ever made one cent doing that. It took hours, it was aggravating and it finally stopped when I went in and got a library card at some new library and went in and did all the work to change the toolbar. Then I logged back in to see if it worked and logged back in to find out the computer had a thing that wiped the computer every single time you logged off.

When you let an idea wait a little while, when you don’t jump on it right away and act like it’s going to save you. To act like it’s going to have your salvation within it. When you see that a new idea is simply  going to require similar work to what you’re already doing right now, a 24-hour cooling off period will help put it in perspective. The ideas I had for the best are there the next day and the day after and putting off doing them tends to build enthusiasm for them as rather than kill it. Usually rushing into a new idea too fast will kill the enthusiasm and you’ve probably noticed that your whole life if you have a new idea and a new idea and you just rush in, you’ll find this pattern of new idea, rush in, this sucks, new idea, rush in, this sucks, new idea and then you’ve suddenly got this history of new ideas piled up that you never finished and now you feel bad about it because not you have nothing except hopefully what you learned doing all that.

Today I pray to have patience with any new ideas I have and to understand that it’s wonderful to have a new idea and know what the easiest way  to validate the idea, the easiest thing I can do is wait another day or two to see how great that idea really is in another day. Today I pray to keep doing the work I am doing first and to make sure I find the joy and happiness in the work I am doing so that I don’t need a new idea to save me from the work I’m doing today. I pray that by sharing this with you have the opportunity to find more love and joy in the work you are doing and that you won’t need some new idea to save you from whatever you’re doing right now. Thank you very much, I’m honored you’re here and I appreciate each moment you’ve spent with me, I would love to have your feedback and I hope you have a great day today.