Most great thinkers and successful persons in the world, both past and present, have, at one time or the other, associated their successes to good ideas. Several books have been published on this valuable seed called idea and how it can be capitalized upon for great achievements. We cannot over emphasize the fact that good ideas rule the world. When ideas become a passion, they consume the proponent so that he or she becomes unstoppable. Victor Hugo said, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” Great ideas cannot be restricted; they find their ways around every obstacle. According to Benazir Bhutto, “You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea.” Not only are good ideas characteristically bigger than their proponents, they also mostly outlive them. In this respect, John F. Kennedy said, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”
As valuable as ideas are, however, we will be making a big mistake to think that they are all it takes to succeed. Ideas don’t fulfil themselves, they must be put to use, and the first step of this is expression. What are ideas without expressions? Have you ever seen an army commander who instructs his troupe with his mind? No matter how skillful or tactful he is, he must issue clear commands, either by speech or by gesture, for the soldiers to act. Can a teacher teach a class without words, gestures, or other technical aids? Unless the subject matter is “silence,” the students would receive nothing. Likewise, ideas are nothing unless they are expressed.
People cannot get into our minds or read our thoughts; hence, they cannot access our brilliant ideas unless we express them. Lois Wyse said, “The only people in the world who can change things are those who can sell ideas.” In whatever endeavour we are engaged in, our ideas will be no good if we cannot convince the necessary stakeholders of their authenticity. If we don’t know how to present our ideas, they may die in our minds.
Some people spend their entire lives merely brooding over some ideas because they believe the ideas are not good enough to be shared. According to Brian G. Jett, “We think good ideas to death, when we should be acting them to life.” I am of the opinion that we don’t know the value of our ideas until we share them. Have you ever had the experience, probably when you were in school, that your teacher asked a question, to which you knew the answer, but you were afraid to be wrong, so, someone else spoke exactly what you had in mind and was correct? How did you feel? Whether in the same scenario or a similar but more complex one, the effect is usually the same. Though you tried to console yourself that it wasn’t really a big deal, deep down, you felt a sense of loss. That is what happens when we don’t share the valuable ideas we have; we lose them to other thinkers. Some other people believe that no one can be trusted, so they hoard their ideas. While the ideas are safe in their minds, neither they nor any other person benefit from that.
Ideas get bigger when they are shared effectively. George Bernard Shaw said, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
Having established that ideas are invaluable, and that they are of no use when we keep them to ourselves, the next question is, “How do we share our ideas?” There are several ways to share our ideas; in fact, there are many more ways than we can talk about here. However, I can assure you that one of the major and most effective ways is through speaking. Of course, you may write a proposal, but you are going to need to make an oral presentation of it at some point. Some people write winning proposals but are screened out only because of their inability to come across convincingly in their oral presentations. When a business proposal is particularly brilliant, and the presenter is particularly poor, the assessor naturally concludes that the idea is stolen. You can learn to express your ideas effectively and win your audience to your line of thinking. Organize your thoughts, support your ideas with facts, create the context in which they can work, and be passionate as you speak. You are closer to achieving your dreams than you know.
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