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.

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