The loneliness of a new idea

Jon Acuff
November 11, 2019

Jon Acuff

One of INC's Top 100 Leadership Speakers for 2018, New York Times Bestselling Author of Finish and Do Over
Creativity & Innovation Leadership

Iggy Pop is a punk legend.

Although his band, The Stooges, was never massively successful from a commercial standpoint, his influence is undeniable. Often called the "Godfather of Punk," Iggy Pop has a long legacy of bands that have followed in his wake. From the Smiths to the Ramones to Nirvana, countless bands list Iggy as the reason they first played music.

An article in the New Yorker recently chronicled Iggy's influence and one particular quote stuck out to me. Josh Homme, the lead singer of the Queens of the Stone Age, said, "He (Iggy) has been so ahead of his time, for so long. That's lonely. Part of the nature of a good idea is that no one around you gets it."

That's one of the truest things I've ever read.

The problem is we expect the opposite to happen. It's impossible to casually have a really good idea. Good ideas grab you. Good ideas kick the doors down in your head and your hearts. They refuse to go back to wherever it is that good ideas come from and set up shop in your life until you will actually do something with them.

When we share that idea with someone else, we expect them to get it, too. How could they not? It's soooo GOOD! We tell them and then watch their face, expecting them to have the same reaction to the idea that we had. Surely, they will be just as over the moon as we are.

Only, they are not.

They aren't that interested.

They don't see what the big deal is.

They don't get it.

You have a choice at that moment.

You can give up on the idea and pretend you never got it either. Maybe your friend is right. Maybe it's not a good idea. Maybe if everyone else doesn't get it right away you were wrong. Isn't it easier to agree with the crowds instead of being lonely with only the new idea to keep you company?

That's your first option, but fear not, you have a second one.

The second one is to double down on the idea. If good ideas are always lonely, then you just got confirmation. If everyone got the idea right away, maybe it's because the idea has already been done a million times before. Maybe instant acceptance is just a sign that the idea is too familiar. Everyone understands vanilla ice cream at this point.

Every time I've shared a new idea about a book I've expected everyone to get it instantly. They never do. This can be discouraging or confirming. I choose confirming.

I think you should, too.


To book Jon Acuff for your next event, visit his profile at https://premierespeakers.com/jon_acuff

Jon’s most recent book title is Finish. To order copies in bulk for your event, please visit BulkBooks.com.

Jon Acuff

Want Jon Acuff for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
3 Tips to a Better Work-Life Balance
Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff
November 18, 2019
How do I balance work, business travel and family life? I'm glad you asked my opinion on this because I ...
The loneliness of a new idea
Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff
November 11, 2019
Iggy Pop is a punk legend. Although his band, The Stooges, was never massively successful from a commercial ...
How to be nice in 7 words.
Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff
October 18, 2019
I know a few jerks who have made it pretty far in life. To pretend otherwise would be a lie. Jerks occasionally win. ...
3 Tips to a Better Work-Life Balance
How do I balance work, business travel and family life? I'm glad you asked my opinion on this because I am an expert. I ALWAYS get work-life balance right. Over the last 21 years I have not made a single mistake when it comes to the idea of work-life balance, and I'm probably in line to get a Nobel Prize for this soon because I'm that amazing...
Read More
The loneliness of a new idea
Iggy Pop is a punk legend. Although his band, The Stooges, was never massively successful from a commercial standpoint, his influence is undeniable. Often called the "Godfather of Punk," Iggy Pop has a long legacy of bands that have followed in his wake. From the Smiths to the Ramones to Nirvana, countless bands list Iggy as the reason they f...
Read More
How to be nice in 7 words.
I know a few jerks who have made it pretty far in life. To pretend otherwise would be a lie. Jerks occasionally win. They make lots of money. They get famous. They accomplish lots and lots of things. They succeed in a million different ways, but, there's a catch. Jerks who win, only win temporarily. The people around them are just biding t...
Read More
I can't stop thinking about this sentence.
My smartest friends don't make a big production about the smart things they say. Sometimes, you'll see politicians deliver a line they're excited about and then they'll pause, waiting for the audience to clap. When it works, it can be a really powerful moment. When it doesn't, you look silly, like a cat who is confused that no one else is thr...
Read More
The 10-year question.
Last January, I went skiing with three friends to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was an amazing trip and one of my favorite mountains I've ever visited. It didn't hurt that Wyoming is home of the Walt Longmire books, the best mystery series I've read in years. It was my first time to the state and worth the trouble of getting there from Nashville....
Read More
The magical magnet you probably need, too.
My wife and I are teaching our oldest daughter how to drive. It's a stressful experience because the second you sit in the passenger seat while your kid drives, you realize a few things: 1. These roads are so narrow! 2. Why don't we have any street lights? This town is stupid dark! 3. People drive way too fast, why are they tailgating us...
Read More
Don't let anger steal your creativity.
Recently, a politician tweeted something foolish. I saw the tweet, shrugged at it and then glanced at the amount of comments that single tweet had. There were 112,000 responses. That made me so sad because that meant tens of thousands of people spent their very limited creativity that day on an argument with a stranger. Do you know what those c...
Read More
How to enjoy social media 100% more.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. There are parts of it I love, like the amount of creative opportunities it offers us that no other generation ever had access to. That I can work full time as an author is directly related to the chance social media gave me to build a business. (My current favorite platform is Instagram. You sho...
Read More
A simple lesson it has taken me 43 years to learn.
To be honest, the two sentences I am about to share are very slippery. They are the types of sentences that you learn, carry around for a few weeks or even a few months, but then forget. They fall right out of your head and a year later you bump back into them and learn them all over again. But I am convinced they are true and I am more than a l...
Read More
The decision you and I make every single day.
A few years ago, I was walking to the stage to speak at an event. I saw this on the ground and stopped dead in my tracks. It might just look like tape at first, but this it's actually a lot more than that. This is the decision you have to make every day if you're going to chase a dream. Every day you face the same decision, take the stage or t...
Read More