No idea is a mountain

"Human beings necessarily depend on one another, as in You can't manage this all by yourself; no man is an island. This expression is a quotation from John Donne's Devotions (1624): “No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main."

We've all heard the popular idiom No man is an island which, as defined by "No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others". We often hear this term when someone is trying to accomplish everything by themselves and often refuses the help of others to accomplish the given goal.

I was recently re-reading some of the daily pointers written by the always incredible Derek Sivers, in particular his article about Presenting one idea at a time and letting others build upon it. In this brief article Derek talks about the purpose of his blog posts, which is to

"Present one little idea, something anyone can read in under two minutes, and shine a spotlight on it."

Derek has a large audience for his blog, so readers will often contribute to the conversation and either improve the idea, add another perspective or disprove the idea entirely. He does this for many reasons, the most important being audience interaction. Firstly it is short and encourages people to read the content, and importantly as it appears to be lacking detail it allows us to form our own opinions and critiques, rather than simply agreeing or disagreeing with the content.

This got me thinking about how ideas are presented amongst colleagues, friends and even strangers...

Personally when proposing an idea, often we jump to explaining our reasoning behind why this idea is the greatest idea anybody has ever had, and we don't truly allow the recipients of this idea to offer a critical analysis. It's much easier to agree with somebody (or even disagree) if they present their argument at the same time as the idea. If we simply present an idea and allow people to critique it on their own, the quality of the idea (or decision) is vetted at a much higher level, as you're forcing the listener to think for themselves rather than simply evaluate your opinion.

So, at least for me I'm going to try this approach when introducing new ideas, and pay particular attention to the thought processes that my listeners are following.

I would like to leave you with a quote by another inspiring person to me, and a friend of Derek Sivers, the great Tim Ferris (author of the four-hour workweek and much more)

"It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.”