20 9 / 2013
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12 6 / 2012
Why creatives protect their ideas
As creatives, we are meant to think up brilliant things. Our minds expand beyond the limits to create ideas that are clever, simple and on strategy. We try different angles and play with different perspectives. It’s a process that can have us pulling out our hair. But in the end, it’s all worth it when that idea appears in front of our faces. It’s a moment of such happiness and excitement that we want to leap out of our chair and scream “I GOT IT!”
But when you’re asked to share your idea, you tend to feel something different: An innate response to hold onto it tightly and keep it under wraps. You’ll likely feel this come on when someone in your peripheral vision walks by to take a glance at what you’re working on, or when someone asks what you’ve come up with. It can even happen while you’re showing your book on an interview with a CD. Suddenly you’ve become a mama bear protecting her cub.
So why do we react this way when it comes to “sharing” a BIG idea?
- Because it’s great: In the hundred of ideas that you come up with, there are a few that are good. And even fewer that are great. When you know that you have a BIG idea on your hands, you want to hang onto it. It’s like holding a winning lottery ticket for a big jackpot. Ever notice that the ideas you know are garbage get thrown out without a second thought?
- Because it’s yours: The nice thing about coming up with an idea is the satisfaction that it brings. Even if it’s a team collaboration, you had a hand in it. It’s an idea that you created (or helped to create).
- Because you’re afraid: No matter how confident you are, there is always a sense of nervousness that comes along with sharing a good idea. It’s the combination of vulnerability and uncertainty that makes us afraid of the end result. Your mind gets bogged with the worst case scenarios: Your boss will chuck it. The client will hate it. Someone will steal it.
Once you’ve shared your idea, here’s the good and the bad:
BAD: Any idea, no matter how good it is - can be ruined. There is a chance that it can get tossed aside, that the client will hate it, or that someone will steal it. Once it’s out there, it’s a gamble on whether it succeeds or fails.
GOOD: You had the capacity to think up a BIG idea. This means there’s a good chance that there are more big ideas in that brain of yours. Plus, once you get over protective urges, sharing an idea actually does make you feel good. You’ll feel proud to show what you have to offer and that you had the courage to show it off.
The important thing to remember when sharing your ideas is to trust who you’re sharing them with. Most times, people who are interested in hearing your ideas want to offer suggestions or give encouragement. They might hold insights that can make that great idea even better.
And what if you encounter someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart? Well, that’s simple: Karma’s a bitch.
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