How to avoid falling into the 'Javi Noble' syndrome
Why our ideas die and not precisely in the attempt.
We all know that bringing an idea to fruition is not an easy thing. We love the ideation process. In our groups of friends there is always “ Javi Noble ”, that popular character from the movie We the Nobles who spent his time imagining ideas such as gas stations at home, and so on. In bars, meetings and inns we imagine how to transform the world, how to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or how to win our girl or boy.
It is true that daydreaming is a very pleasant process. What's more, leaving that gathering we go in our car thinking and establishing that our idea is fabulous. We thought “Wow! If I do this and that, I sell my car, I pawn my PlayStation and I convince so-and-so, we will surely do it ”.
As a parenthesis, I tell you a true story. When I finished high school in my beautiful city of Oaxaca about 10 kilos ago, I had nothing to do since I took a sabbatical and every day I met a great friend of my youth, Luis Alfonso. I remember it was noon and we were throwing a baseball at each other, when all of a sudden I had a eureka moment. Really, God enlightened me and before throwing the ball again, I stopped and asked my friend: “What if we wash cars? Wey, imagine, if we wash cars at home here in this neighborhood (which was the wealthiest neighborhood in the city), we charge 30 pesos and wash about 20 cars a day and multiply it by 6 days. It is done!"
My friend with great business acumen confirmed my idea with great fuss. Minutes later we organized what work tools we were going to bring the next day to launch our first venture.
The next day at 9:00 am he was at his house, with some torn pants, cap on the back, bucket and flannel in hand. I was very excited about making money and doing something productive, but as soon as my friend opened the door of his house for me, he showed me a friendly regret and kept repeating “Yes, but. Yes, but ”. In the end, sadly our society did not work out as we were ashamed to go out to wash cars in that affluent neighborhood. Our “ startup ” never materialized because we didn't wash a car.
It was obviously a temporary summer job in our youth, but I think many of us have been through similar stories. We almost always end up thinking and never executing.
For many of us it is the story of our lives. So what prevents us from materializing our ideas?
I will use myself as a great example of this symptom of "Javi Noble", the great creator, since there are so many reasons not to execute our idea like bees in a honeycomb.
Lack of interest. As a first point I will start by saying that many times we do not materialize our ideas because it was really a “x” thought and the project does not interest us. The interest you show in something is relatively proportional to the time you spend on it without feeling that time passes. Pay attention to those things in which you flow effortlessly, in which you let go without feeling that you are wasting time, those in which you really feel good and enjoy.
Enjoyment is defined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, in his book Flow: a psychology of happiness as “the events capable of making us enjoy occur when a person has not only fulfilled a previous expectation or satisfied a need or desire, but also when they have gone further. beyond what he or she had programmed themselves to do and they achieve something unexpected, perhaps something they had never imagined ”. Whatever it is that makes you enjoy, don't judge yourself, it's what you like, period.
Perfectionism Another reason for not materializing ideas is perfectionism. We spent a lot of time trying to do something so detailed that we could never finish it. Create drafts or prototypes, do not spend time for perfection, there will be time to correct. What's more, what isn't perfect for you may be perfect for others. On one occasion I lost almost three months without working just because my website was not the way I wanted it to be. In the end, anyway, when it was finished, no one came to visit her. It was hard. To paraphrase the American writer and novelist Anne Lamott, "perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people, it will strangle you, it will drive you crazy all your life and it is the main obstacle between you and your fucking first draft." In turn, David Foster Wallace commented that if "your fidelity to perfectionism is very high, you will never do anything."
To procrastinate. A concept that is in vogue is “procranistar”, the act of postponing the things you want or should do, for very important reasons, such as: what a fat fly has just happened, just five more minutes, the commercial ends and that's it , just one cigarette, it's 5:13 to 5:30 I start. We procreators have a lot of aces up our sleeves. Trust me, if you are looking for the perfect time to get things done, you will never get them done. There is no perfect time, even if you are very interested in your idea, we are human and there are many distractions, start by turning off your cell phone and closing Facebook, it will be a good start. As Eugène Delacroix said, “I will never postpone for a better day, something that I can enjoy doing now”.
Comfort zone. Get out of your comfort zone, great ideas materialize with effort. The theorists of happiness say that happiness is found in the process, not in the final result. In other words, the trigger for happiness is day-to-day, hard work, that things cost us. Let's focus on winning little battles every day, not winning the war. Nietzsche asserted that enduring difficulty is essential for a full life.
“When heaven wishes to bestow great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his nerves and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him through poverty, put obstacles in the way of his actions to stimulate the mind, harden its nature and improve it wherever it is incompetent ”(1).
No pain, no gain . Human pain is the nerve center to realize our dreams, be brave, it will hurt, there will be times when you want to throw in the towel, but that's where the great women and great men come out. Behind every idea executed there are 100,000,000 tears, 350 scrapes, 20 losses, 2,000 sleepless nights, but your idea is worth it.
Lack of skills and money. If to materialize your idea you need a specific skill and you have not developed it, it is not an excuse. Today in our times there are thousands of sources of information for you to train in it. The Internet is a very valuable source, books not to mention. In a WOBI talk, the professor and one of the most recognized minds in the world of innovation and creativity Ken Robinson, stated that “anyone is capable of reading and writing, but not everyone can do it, you are born with the ability, but the fact of acquiring them in a cultural achievement, you must learn it, you are born with great creative potential, but being aware of it depends on whether or not you put it into practice ”. So you know, you have the innate ability, take advantage of it.
Money is often a problem when realizing an idea. The solution to this is the creation of drafts and prototypes, there are two business methodologies that can help you carry out this type of process: Design Thinking and Lean Startup. These methodologies will help you materialize your idea quickly and economically.
Ignore the grave ideas. Although it is true many times we do our first test of our idea talking about it with friends or family, do not pay attention to negative omens since you will have plenty of them. At this point everyone becomes an expert in business, art, cooking, literature, and so on.
These "experts" are the ideas knockdown , for no reason should they knock down your idea, better use that information as an iterative process to improve it. The safest thing is that they are not your target, so do not worry. If the idea is to die, first bring it to life.
Fear of adversity and failure. This is a very exhausting subject and there are experts on the subject with many more credentials than me, so I will focus on commenting on it from a more personal point of view.
I imagine there will be many reasons to be afraid and each one will be very personal, but what is a fact is that no one has died for trying something (perhaps if they have died by executing it more than by trying).
And speaking of death, I will ask you a question, what would your epitaph be if you lost your life tomorrow? Challenging question, right? Although it sounds ugly, use death as a detonator to do what you have always wanted to do, life is short, rare and we do not know how long the "twenty" will last, let's not be part of the cliché of movies or novels in the last scene and say "I wish I had made more use of my time and done this and that." Even to die we are original.
Apart from our idea, obviously we also have responsibilities and daily activities; In our work, with family, friends, what's more, we have other ideas to materialize out there. So when do we make the efforts to carry out our action plan? From my point of view we have to answer two questions.
- How important is it to carry out my idea?
- Will there be a before and after in my life as a consequence of having carried out my idea?
If the level of importance is high and is at the top of your thoughts, do it! If not, you will be condemned to frustration and it will bring negative consequences in your work and in your daily life. If you think this idea will change your life and bring you happiness, (assuming falls and failures), the doors are open, the opportunities are generated, they are not expected in an armchair.
I remember a few years ago having seen a talk that Ramón Calderón, former president of Real Madrid, gave before some university students in the Spanish capital and in one of his unfortunate comments Guti (former Real Madrid player) expressed himself as follows; "Raúl started with Guti and he, at 31, is still a promise." Obviously this comment caused him a hundred criticisms for his lack of tact towards one of his players, but deep down it leaves a lesson, let's not be Guti, let's not be an eternal promise.
So to carry out your idea you have to focus, here are some recommendations:
- Work on your idea in the morning so your mind will be clear and fresh.
- Start your work day working on the one you like the most, your idea.
- Sleep well.
- Set work hours to develop your idea, in that time do not do anything other than that.
- I recommend you download the “Pomodoro” app, the Pomodoro Technique is a method to improve time management developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a clock to divide the time spent on work into 25-minute intervals called “pomodoros”, separated by pauses of 5 minutes (2). It really works.
- Find a sport or physical activity outdoors that you like, apart from the health benefits that doing these activities brings us, it is an intimate moment in which you can exercise and brainstorm for your action plan.
- Many times we read or watch a video that motivates us and encourages us to carry out our ideas, but many times that motivation lasts for a few days. Always try to read and watch more videos that inspire you, so your motivation and your idea will always be present in your mind, don't let it decay.
- If your idea is a business, work your project alongside your current source of income, we do not know if your idea will be financially successful, having something secure will give you stability. So time optimization is essential, and effort as well.
- View the execution of your new idea as a hobby, something you enjoy.
We are not geniuses, these are very few in history, Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, Tomás Alva Edison, so we do not have to be like them, we do not have the obligation to be successful, nor heroes. Executing our ideas goes beyond economics and recognition, it is only realizing our dreams.
I hope this post is useful, and I invite you to leave comments and recommendations.
- (1) Meng Tzu, China, III D, de JC Text extracted from the Happiness Hypothesis. Jonathan Haidt. page 167
- (2) Wikipedia