The Power Of Starting Something Stupid shows you that most ideas are often falsely labeled stupid at first, and that if they are, that’s a good indicator you should pursue them and not care what anyone thinks.
We need more of this. Just read the title of the book. Don’t you feel relieved already? Richie Norton gives you permission to start something stupid and it’s exactly what we need.
We live in a world of don’ts. Don’t try to start a blog, it’s impossible to succeed with so many out there. Don’t code a fitness app, they’ve all been done before. Don’t, don’t, don’t.
Richie says yes. Yes, go ahead and start that nail studio for dogs. Yes, ice cream delivery is crazy, do it anyway.
All this book does is encourage you to embrace your own, creative, stupid ideas, not give a damn about what people think and get started on them before you’re old and gray.
Here are 3 wonderful stupid lessons about stupid ideas:
- If you have an idea people think is stupid, only trust your instincts.
- Give yourself the freedom to fail by breaking your idea down into small projects.
- Use the resources you’ve got and don’t make excuses.
Ready to start something stupid? Here we go!
Lesson 1: If you have an idea people think is stupid, only trust your instincts.
You’ve been there before. I know you have. You came up with something you thought was a BRILLIANT idea, like using iPads in restaurants to replace waiters.
Your friends instantly proceed to tell you how stupid the idea is. “People want the human interaction, that’ll never fly.” “iPads are expensive, that’s stupid!” Discouraged, you give up on your idea before you even started.
Actually, the second you heard the word “stupid”, you should’ve listened up. Some of the world’s greatest business ideas were considered stupid. But people started them anyway, because they trusted their gut feeling and not their friends’ opinions.
The telephone in 1876? Considered a total waste of time. Harry Potter? Rejected by 11 publishers. Oh and that iPad thing? Happened to me in 2011. I had the idea to create a restaurant where people sit down, have an iPad in their table, and instantly order from there.
Stupid? Yes. But in 2012, I ordered at a restaurant at the Toronto airport with this exact method. Don’t give a damn about what people say. If anything, take “stupid” as an indicator that you’re on to something great.
Lesson 2: Give yourself the freedom to fail by breaking your idea down into small projects.
Now your idea can be as stupid as you want, but that doesn’t mean you get to be stupid about how you execute it. If your goal is to run a successful blog, it’s super easy to postpone even starting, because there are so many things to do.
You have to buy the domain, set up the website, pick a design and then there are god knows how many blog posts to write before you ever get somewhere. But looking at your project like this won’t help you execute it.
Instead, chunk your idea into the smallest projects you can manage. This way, you allow yourself to fail on a small scale, without ever questioning your idea in itself.
For example, you can pick one of three topics and write 4 blog posts in a month about it. If none of them elicit any interesting comments or favorable feedback, you can just choose the next topic and start over. Your topic failed, but your idea is still very much intact.
Don’t focus on the big picture, just on the very next step. Would I love Four Minute Books to be this gigantic stash of 1000 book summaries? Sure. But instead of obsessing over how much work that takes, I’d rather focus on just writing one summary per week.
As long as I continue doing that, I’ll be there faster than I think.
Lesson 3: Work with what you’ve got, instead of making excuses.
Yes, you don’t have the money to buy a fancy ice cream machine. Sure, you’ve never run an ice cream parlor before. Okay, none of your friends have one either, I get it. But getting fixated on what you don’t have won’t move you one inch closer to your goal. Not one bit.
So work with what you’ve got. Start selling ice cream out of your kitchen window. Make it with a shitty ice cream maker you bought on Amazon for $20. And just learn as you go.
Leverage the things other people have done. No movie theater makes its own movies, farmers don’t lay their own eggs and Google really just points you to other websites. If you want to start a daily vlog, use the camera that’s on your laptop. Get a free WordPress domain if you can’t afford one.
Don’t think everything has to be perfect. You’re just starting out. So use what you have, it’s a lot better than making excuses.
My personal take-aways
If anything, the book made me feel even better about it, and I’m very comfortable recommending it. Finally someone who tells us to take a stand for what we believe in, instead of fixating on tactics and strategy to “do stuff that works.” The truth is everything works if you do it long enough. This book will give you the courage to start. That’s…The Power Of Starting Something Stupid