Are You an Idea Addict?

by Mitch Ditkoff

Are You an Idea Addict?There are lots of things in this world that people get addicted to: alcohol, nicotine, heroin, sex, and iPhones just to name a few.

But perhaps the biggest addiction of them all is the addiction to our own ideas.

Here’s how it works:

We think something up. We feel a buzz. We tweak it, we name it, we pitch it, and POOF, the addiction begins.

At first, like most habits, it’s a seemingly casual pursuit with a thousand positive side effects: increased energy, renewed focus, and a general feeling of well-being.

Like wow, man. But then…

We think about it in the shower. We think about it in the car. We think about it when people are asking us to think about other things.

We even dream about it.

Soon we want everyone to know about our idea. We want them to feel the buzz. We want them to nod in agreement. We want them to recognize just how pure our fixation is.

If this is where it ended, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I wouldn’t be calling it an addiction. Maybe I’d be calling it an “inspiration,” or a “commitment” or a “visitation from the Muse.” But it doesn’t end here. It goes on and on and on and on — and often, to our own detriment.

If you have a business, of course, you want to conjure up cool ideas. That’s a good thing. But if you cling to ideas just because they’re yours, or just because you’ve invested major mojo in them, then it’s definitely time to rethink where you’re coming from.

The story behind the creation of the iPhone is a good example of what I’m talking about.

Steve Jobs and his Apple team had to face the music and back off their own addiction to what they had created in order to create something even greater.

Here’s what Steve had to say about the matter:

“There always seems to come a moment (when what you’re doing) is not quite working. Take the iPhone. We had a different enclosure design for the iPhone until way too close to the introduction to ever change it. And I came in one morning, and I said ‘I just don’t love this. I can’t convince myself to fall in love with this. And this is the most important product we’ve ever done.

So we pushed the reset button. We went through all the zillions of models we made and ideas we’d had… It was hell because we had to go to the team and say, ‘All the work you’ve done for the last year, we’re going to have to throw it away and start over, and we’re going to have to work twice as hard now because we don’t have enough time.’

And you know what everybody said, ‘Sign us up.’

That happens more than you think because this is not just engineering and science. There is art, too. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of one of these crises, you’re not sure you’re going to make it to the other end. But we’ve always made it, and so we have a certain degree of confidence, although sometimes you wonder.”

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Mitch DitkoffMitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.

No comments

  1. Hi Mitch!

    I believe that another perspective of “Idea addiction” is lack of results. I’m a very creative person with many ideas, but not all of them develops further. The majority just stay as ideas.

    What I’ve noticed is that when there are so many ideas, the “results” part becomes more and more important. Perhaps even as important as the ideas themselves! I think time and energy is needed to carefully take care of the ideas, to realise them and to produce good quality projects/good content.

    I know that the buzz you’ve mentioned in the blog post is common, most of us face it everyday in some form. But how often do we face realised dreams and ideas?

  2. This is old wisdom. Lau Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching that the sage learns not to cling to ideas. The fact is that most ideas fail to become something real and this is why people with real innovative minds have plenty of them and not just few that they cling to.

    On the other hand, if you are an innovative mind, you need the hormones rush. Call it an addiction but it just does not happen without the kick you get while “eureka!” happens. So like almost everything in life its all a matter of keeping the right balance.

  3. Hey,

    Great post. I have found myself an idea addict, but I found a site called where I can get these ideas out. After realizing I would never get to all my ideas and that other people could help perfect them, and even take over the ones I didn’t have time for, I searched out a place like Biziden.

    All too often I used to get completely wrapped up in an idea beyond what I should have. Now I just share my ideas on Biziden and get feedback from the community. Check it out:

  4. Hey…thanks for that. Fantastic content. I’ll be coming back soon for more news. Cheers!

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