My son, Ben, is going to be eight in a few months and the other day he struggled to deal with the fact that an idea he had for an invention had already been invented. It was not important what the invention is but that he was thinking about creating things. But he was near tears after learning that his big idea was over and done with.
I tried to console him but failed to do so. I told him that he’ll have plenty of ideas and one day one of them might lead to a new invention, a new business, or an improvement to an existing one. I told him that new things are invented every day and that he may invent something related to a thing that doesn’t exist yet. I told him Thomas Edison failed for years of thousands of experiments before he created the light bulb. I gave him all of the encouragement that a father could, but it wasn’t enough.
Who am I to council about patents, opening a business, or creating something new? I create with words but for all of my ideas, dreams, hypothesizing, questioning, investigating, and pontification I have not created shit. How could I tell him what would be genuine, legitimate advice from someone in the know if I am someone in the dark?
But we give advice every day that we have no firsthand knowledge of. Priests console couples about relationships and parenting but know not from these things. Guidance counselors who went from the classroom to their jobs give career advice to high school or college students when they may never have lived a day outside of academia. And parents give their kids words of wisdom even when they don’t have a real-life experience to draw from.
My son wondered if he’d have another good idea only to see it owned by another. He had genius block, telling me he didn’t have any other ideas. He put too much pressure on himself to come up with a big idea. I told him ideas should just come naturally and flow from experience. I told him many ideas come out of an experience, a need, or a desire. He’s only experienced a fraction of one percent of what the world is all about. Imagine how many ideas he’ll have once he gets out of second grade?
We all want to discover the big idea but sometimes ideas find us. Or so I believe, for I have not come up with the next big idea either. But I know it’s out there, waiting for me to claim it. Or perhaps, for Ben to do so.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2012 ©