When I was a kid, I used to like to read in bed before going to sleep. On cold nights, my arms and hands would “freeze” because they had to stay uncovered in order to hold my book. I would try to fold other parts of the blanket over my arms and hands, but it was bulky and uncomfortable and often left another part of my body exposed to the cold. Then, one day, it hit me! I was going to invent a blanket with sleeves! I was so proud of myself, and excited to share my great idea, I ran into my mother’s room and told her about my invention.
“Mommy! I just came up with the best idea ever! I’m gonna invent a blanket with sleeves so your arms don’t get cold when you read! Isn’t that a great idea?!?!”
“They already invented that,” my mother said. “It’s called a robe.”
And so, my idea, along with my career as an inventor, was crushed.
Years later, the blanket with sleeves (which is now called a Snuggie, not a robe) is a giant success, and someone else is reaping the rewards. Even though there are tons of people who are equally as unimpressed as my mother was, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind having the millions of dollars that were generated from such a “silly” idea. I know I wouldn’t.
The point is, anyone can come up with a million dollar idea at any time. Not every idea we come up with will be the one that changes the world, but making a habit of pursuing your ideas beyond the initial criticisms and naysayers will eventually pay off. Maybe not in millions, but much more than if you did nothing with your ideas, or worse, forgot about them altogether.
Here’s a great idea: Always carry around some way to take down notes; whether it be a pen and paper, a voice recorder, or a PDA. You never know when you might come up with a good idea. You may even run into someone who offers you some valuable information that leads to a great idea. Writing down your ideas when you come up with them will ensure you never miss a golden opportunity. You will thank yourself over and over again. Trust me.