Chasing Your Big Idea Won't Lead to Success

For much of my life, I've chased after the "big idea", or in other words, the one idea that would save me from insignificance and anonymity. If you're reading this, you've probably felt the urge to find your big idea too.

But, I'm starting to think this is a lie.

What if there is no big idea?

What if we're wasting our time going in search of an illusion?

It wasn't until recently that I found out I was.

Truth is, a big idea isn't as big as we imagine it to be.

If you think about the iPhone, you would think it's a big idea. The iPhone has completely revolutionized the phone market. But if you analyze it closely, zoom in on what innovation actually happened, you would see that Apple didn't create the phone. In fact, when people heard that Apple was entering into the phone market, many of them shrugged their shoulders. They didn't care. The phone already existed, but they're big idea was simply improving on what already existed.

So often we imagine success to come once we innovate, come out with something completely new. But our "big ideas" aren't always new things.

Our big ideas are sometimes improving on simple ones.

But if you ask others what success looks like, they would most likely tell you that success follows coming out with something new. You can't blame them. We've been primed through our history classes that success looks like Thomas Edison discovering the lightbulb and Henry Ford making the automobile.

Not only that, but we have a certain lens that can only see the finished product, not the hard work it took to arrive upon that idea. If we could see the hard work, we would find that successful people most often didn't come up with something entirely new.

Instead, they rummaged through a number of simple ideas until it formed the path to their big idea.

This is how big ideas are. Our big ideas are built off of a culmination of many simple ideas.

For instance, the success of Guy Laliberté's Cirque de Soleil began from a simple performing troupe of clowns. Laliberté didn't all of a sudden wake up with this idea of having the largest theatrical production in the world. His big idea was built off the simple idea he was currently executing.

Our big ideas are comprised of the many simple actions we choose today.

If you're in a start-up company that appears like a simple idea, don't worry that it didn't start out as being big. Instead, dream higher. See what simple things you can improve on today. And after a while, you'll stumble across your innovation.

Neglecting the simple ideas won't form your innovation. Your innovation will come from improving simple ideas.

That might not be how we envision success, but to see success coming from an utterly new idea would cripple us from not doing anything significant at all.

Deny the illusion of having a big idea. Search for it through the simple ideas around you, and you'll find the treasure you're looking for.

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