We live in a time when intellectuals are often looked down upon. I recently heard an acquaintance mention that he doesn’t trust college professors because they “don’t live in the real world.” Among many people, being anti-intellectual, anit-TED, anti-reading is seen as being a good thing. The problem with this perspective is being anti-everything leads to stagnation. Good ideas don’t occur in a vacuum. If you want to be innovative, you must expose yourself and your team to the vast wealth of knowledge that is available to all of us.
hard work x diversity of ideas
Great ideas are the product of a lot of time spent thinking about and working with ideas multiplied by the time you spend learning about new things. Expose yourself to new ideas, new cultures, new works of art, new media, new languages, etc. Find some great podcasts to listen to. Try new foods, new hobbies, new forms of entertainment. Subscribe to a few new blogs that have nothing to do with your business or personal interests. Read books, read lots of them. Don’t get stuck on just one genre. And then, once you’ve had some time to digest all of this stuff, do something with all those ideas.
Start a blog. Come on. It’s free to do and easy to set up. You could write in a journal, but a blog is way better. We live in a time where sharing is more important than ever. Don’t hide what your learning. Tell the world about it! Not only will others appreciate hearing from you and sharing in your ideas, you will also be improving your own thinking. Explaining ideas is hard work and it forces you to think even deeper about your ideas and learning.
Model your appreciation of ideas to others. If you are a business owner, leader, or entrepreneur, one of your most prized assets should be the wealth of ideas that your team comes up with on your behalf. Encourage your team to learn and build an environment where ideas are appreciated. When they come to you with great ideas, give them the resources they need to make things happen, and show your appreciation.
Everything starts with you.