Monday, April 5, 2010

...the great idea that got away...

In every work of genius,
we can recognize our own rejected thoughts.
They come back to us
with a certain alienated majesty.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Have you ever had a great idea that you did not pursue or implement, only to find later that someone else had...successfully? 

 I've had a few.  Years ago I wrote a manuscript for a book, called "The Pregnancy Primer and Journal", which offered information about what to expect during each month of pregnancy.  Seems I did not promote it well enough or connect with the right people because shortly after a book called "What To Expect When You Are Expecting" came out and to this day continues to sell millions of copies in multiple languages.  Also, during that same period I penned another book called "The Latchkey Children's Ledger" which was accepted by the publisher of the works of Robert Munsch.   The publisher later changed their mind when they discovered they could not sell it to libraries.  Oh well ... close but no cigar.

I have come to believe that if a great idea occurs to you, you must act quickly.  Ideas seem to permeate the ether ... and if you are thinking of it, you can be sure someone else is too.  So don't tuck those great ideas away for another day.  Start building and executing a plan.  If you don't, someone else will!

It is not enough to simply come up with a great idea ... you have to have the courage and wherewithal to implement it.  Of course, it also has a little to do with the zeitgeist, the right contacts and your timing. 

What great idea could you almost take credit for?

P.S.  I just realized after rereading this post that I have not made room for those of you who have had a great idea that did come to fruition!!  If so, please share - it will be so interesting to here about both the ideas that didn't get away - along with those that did.

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  1. so true...its amazing how even a not too good idea, if in th right time, can be very successful...i wish i was smart enough to say i could take credit for something

  2. hi bonnie - this'll be a post to follow - what a cool question. in 1980 i was part of a reading course on information theory at trent university. during one session i suggested an idea which i called echo-net. the idea was simply that if i had a question i could fire it out and people on computers scattered across the country could send back their answers. ten years later the commercial version of the internet was birthed. at that time i hadn't even seen a computer, let alone used one. i think that that was more about being in touch with the zeitgeist than being clever. steven

  3. Hi Brian: I usually agree with everything you say, but not this time. Harumph!!! - 'not smart enough...' I know I will soon be collecting the writings of Brian Miller!!! I just KNOW it!

  4. Hey steven: That's amazing, but not surprising! What a huge idea ... and so ahead of its time. Wow!!

  5. Oh that happens to me all the time! People are always stealing my great ideas! Shoot. Can't think of anything specific though. Anyway, I believe an idea whose time has come pops up all over the place pretty much simultaneously.

  6. Hi Ellen: Isn't it frustrating? All those people hiding waiting to steal our genius ideas!!! ;0)

  7. I had an experience similar to Steven's. When I was in highschool I stumbled upon the dialogues of Plato and got really excited by them.

    However I discovered no one among my friends had ever read, or had any interest in reading, Plato. Most had never heard of Plato. And were very happy in their ignorance.

    So, the thought that occurred to me, was--what if there were a way to connect people up around the world by their interests. Even if there were only 10 or 20 of us around the world, we could become friends based on our unique interests.

    So, in a way, I created the internet. And blogging.

    Move over Al Gore.

  8. Hey Barry! The internet AND blogging. OMG - I would love to have the smallest piece of the royalties you are getting for such creations.

    Seriously, isn't it incredible how similar ideas percolate in minds all over the world at the same time? That's why I loved Emerson's quote about recognizing our own rejected (or ignored) genius ideas.

  9. Barry - just thinking about your 'move over Al Gore' remark. Isn't it funny how we all make fun of his having said that? Yet, down deep we are poking fun at ourselves for we have all made similar comments claiming different inventions as having originated with us.

    I think there is a commercial on TV right now, where Microsoft has different people saying that they invented the latest version of the PC.

  10. So true!! I have had that happen a couple of times myself. I then kick myself each time. LOL!!

  11. Bonnie, you have no idea how much I needed this post. I've got too much just sitting, not being moved outward. Time to change that. Perhaps this is one way my spirit guides are responding to my intent today in meditation.

  12. SueAnn: Oh, I hate that kicking myself part ...

  13. Meri: Happy to be of service! It is a good reminder to take out some of those ideas we have been sitting on and give them a try ... Let me know what happens!!

  14. Bonnie, I'm very glad that I've never had a brilliant idea that missed its opportunity. There was one that floated around in my mind for a while, and I sometimes wonder if anyone else thought of it. What I lack is the push and the entrepreneurial spirit - so if I'm beaten to the punch, it's my own fault. Really too bad about your book idea - that would sting!

  15. Hey Deborah: Isn't it wonderful how we all have these great ideas (whether we pursue them or not)?!!

    Losing the book deal stung at the time - but I am long since over it. I, too, often have ideas but do not have the desire to engage in the implementation or promotion that would be required - I guess that is no entrepreneurial spirit for me either. I have found out over the years that I am very much an idea person - not a goal-oriented entrepreneur. A lot of good that has done me! :0)

  16. I totally agree B muse offers up a treat and if I turn up my nose it is passed on to someone elses muse ....I try to listen closer these days when she says...Sarah this is attention..this is yours to Let Fly with!
    I had an idea while living in AZ in all the heat of creating a baby bottle cooler to stick bottles in when you are out and about. They spoil fast in 110 degrees! I didn't follow through. Then a friend of mine..whom came up with the idea herself..made one then sold it to Walmart for a fortune...go figure!!
    One I did follow through Everuday Witches line of drawings...moved me along to so many other things. Ended up creating and selling a whole towns worth of and sweet...just love doing them. Have moved on to a regular town..Maple Hill and so many other pen and inks..but it started with the little town of Moon Hollow.
    Hugs, Sarah

  17. Sarah: That is key - we have to LISTEN. How many ideas come our way from within that we do not even hear! We have to honour and pay attention to inner directives.

    You are so blessed to not only have a natural talent for art - but to have a mind that blesses you with so many wonderful ideas.

  18. Hi Bonnie! I've been on a major blogging break, but am back. I think the part you said about ideas coming through the ether is so very true. That coincidences happen, that people are often thinking the very same thoughts at the same time, I think that is fascinating. Often who gets the work out into the world is a matter of serendipity I think. Also, I get a million good ideas a day, so the one that has the fire is the one to follow, and I really think that even if it doesn't come to fruition, the experience of the passion somehow moved you in some way that you needed to be moved, and that is miraculous. Provocative subject to say the least! :-)

  19. My idea was to make bath tea- years and years ago I stitched an oversized mesh tea bag full of lavendar and salts with a tag and string to hook onto the faucet. It looked just like a tea bag...went into a gift shop a few days later- there it idea already in production (made in China!) I think that ideas are out there just floating around, many latch on to them at the same time- you have to be quick!

  20. You have inspired me yet again...thank you

  21. Hi Bonnie

    I am sure you might have heard of the hundreth monkey syndrome...

    On some island it was observed that monkeys eating wild yams decided to wash the yams in the sea before eating them...this was a new behaviour....and low and behold the same behavior was observed on the rest of the island in quick succession even tho' the monkeys had no contact with each other...

    Ideas seem to belong to the universe and we pull them down from sky hooks ...where they are accessible to all...

    Happy days

  22. Oh and yes, a friend and I made a set of Lifestones, which depicted in a symbolic form, a number of life enriching qualities. We wrote the book to accompany the stones but it wasn't picked up...however I have since seen similar stones ...

    We also wrote a book entitled the 'Blessing Bag' showing how to collect a number of small items as symbols of those things we felt grateful for in our lives and and indicated how we could at times reflect on these blessings. This idea I have also seen marketed.

    Happy days


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