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Notes: Own Your Idea

Julien Smith writes about the importance of figuring out your message, your core idea, the thing that your very existence stands for. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and Julien's question towards the end of this highlight is fantastic; when I think about his question I feel like I can almost put my finger on my core message.

I've spent a lot of time around authors over the past little while and I've started to figure out that almost all of them have one primary thing to say, a single idea that they are really about. Seth Godin could be "be remarkable," applied to multiple different formats. Tim Ferriss: "most effort is wasted– do what matters." Pema Chodron: "Drop the storyline." I could do this all day.

Here's the thing: authors have to write down their ideas and express them differently. It's their job and they have to work at it, so they get many ideas in their head and stick with those that matter to them (or sometimes those that sell– sigh). Point being, even non-authors need to figure this one thing out. But most never think about it. They plod along without much direction or grand goal at all– and if it is, it's often rather selfish.

Again, I include myself in this.

Here is my suggestion: If you had a TED talk, or some other grand idea, how would you present it? Think about it. This is your one chance. How would you use it?

Thom Chambers wrote something along these same lines. I keep this close and re-read every few days:

It’s tempting to want to break new ground each time you publish a piece of writing. To dazzle. Far more valuable in the long run, though, is when you take an idea and run with it. Show us around it. Show us how it works in action, how it affects us. Own your idea and you’ll be remembered for it.

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