The Recipe for Great Ideas

Many years ago, three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meagre harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat. The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders.

“Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have: the secret of how to make soup from stones.” Naturally, the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town’s greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. “Now this will be a fine soup”, said the second

soldier; “but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!” Up jumped a villager, crying “What luck! I’ve just remembered where some’s been left!”

And off she ran, returning with an apron-full of parsley and a turnip. As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef

and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast. They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends. In the morning the three

soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village’s best breads and cheese.

“You have given us the greatest of gifts: the secret of how to make soup from stones”, said an elder, “and we shall never forget.” The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: “There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast”.

The story of the stone soup is a very old tale thats told all around the world. I included it here, not just because it’s inspirational, but it highlights exactly what I believe is the process of going from idea to implementation:

The soldiers start with nothing more than a stone (an idea) and with the help of a great team, plenty of courage and passion and creativity they end up with a delicious pot of soup.

The contributions of the people in the village represent your financial backers, your resources, your team, etc. Each contribution that is made is adding up to the whole. Everyone is helping you to realize your goal and make a difference in the world with your idea.

With this principle in mind, here are a few daily things you can do to start finding and using your own ideas to make a difference:

1- Get your ideas down on paper

A daily technique that I use to generate ideas is something I call the 90 minute Jam Session. Basically what I do is find somewhere quiet for 90 minutes where I can relax. I bring my notebook and a pen and I spend 90 minutes brainstorming or mind-mapping an idea that I am working on.

2- Write in quantity

At the initial stage of coming up with your ideas, choose having a quantity of ideas over quality. Try and come up with as many ideas as you can. Idea creation and idea evaluation are two very separate things. Trying to both create and evaluate your ideas at the same time is like trying to talk and chew at the same time! Linus Pauling said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”

3-Don’t be afraid to copy

Your ideas don’t have to be original or brand new. You can build on the ideas of others. They can be something that’s already been done that you put a new slant on and do in a different way. It may be a combination of two or more ideas that you have or have seen and bring together to create a completely different product. Remember, the day before something becomes a huge success it’s just a crazy idea.

4-Be bold

Now more than ever, it’s time to be bold and courageous and to do something big and significant that will change the world. So as Donald Trump says, “If you’re going to think, think big.”

These tips were taken from Errol’s book, Teenpreneur. To learn more about this book click here.

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