When I was younger, I always thought that an idea is something that I should keep for myself. I guess I was simply afraid that other people would steal that idea and take credit for it.

Then I read an article about the habits of successful and unsuccessful people. While most of the habits of successful people made sense, the habit of “talking about ideas” made me think. Did I miss something? May the “sharing of ideas” actually be something that helps you?

I started to reflect on this more and, probably due to the confirmation bias, found the following saying:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

And I now think that this is perfectly true. You should share and discuss ideas.

Of course there is the danger of other people stealing your idea but in the end it is just an idea. Other people on the world might have had the same idea. Plus, in order to take advantage of an idea, for example in the business world, you have to work really hard for it to be successful. And thinking further – if somebody steals ideas, do you think he has the guts and the mindset to go for it successfully?

And even if the “idea thief” would be successful – if you have a great idea, that improves the world in some way, how great would it be if someone realizes it? Surely, there is the problem with the credit you might want to get, but if you actually share your idea with many people, in the end everybody knows that it was your idea, don’t they?

In the end one thing is sure: the sharing of ideas with the right people helps to refine and improve this idea, which increases its chances of success dramatically.

Also, it is super fun to think about ideas and to think further than events and people, because it challenges you. And as having fun makes you happy, in my opinion, you should always talk about ideas.

So in the end I want to share an idea of mine from a group work at university: I think there is the possibility to produce plastic bags out of hemp and corn. Those plastic bags will be biodegradable and will not cause harm as plastic bags do nowadays in our oceans. (Standard plastic bags need about 500 years to dissolve.) However, right now the plastic industry has not only the economies of scale to produce super cheap plastic bags, that are hard to compete with, but also they probably have a huge lobby against anything that threatens their business. And, the right recipe for biodegradable plastic bags has not been found yet.

But hey, if some biologist working with biodegradable plastic reads this: go for it! 🙂 I would support you!

 

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