Monday, July 26, 2010

The Devil's Asphalt

Three frogs are sitting on a lily pad. One of those frogs decides to jump. How many frogs are left?

If you said "two," think again. Just because the frog decided to jump, doesn't mean a thing. Because he didn't actually jump. He only intended to.

On any given morning, we can wake up and decide, "Today is the day I will...(insert behavior change here.)" Then, as the day goes on, we slip back into the pattern with which we are so very comfortable, even though we know there's a better choice to be made. One that makes life better for everyone.

We could talk about why this is. But that's a conversation better suited for a couch and a PhD with a steno pad and a fountain pen. So, instead, let's talk about how NOT doing what you know is best can be a quick way to lose your competitive edge, and miss a golden opportunity to bring attention and value to your brand.

Merely intending to do good without actually doing it is of little value. Yet, it is not uncommon for a good idea to show up out of nowhere, get talked about like it's the best idea on the planet, actually gain some immediate support and then die on the vine like a forgotten bunch of Cabernet grapes.

It happens all the time. Four people are sitting around after work at some happy hour joint talking shop. The next thing you know, someone starts playing "what if?" and pretty soon, the whole table has joined in. There's laughter, snorting, more drinking and a flood of ideas (many irreverent, but ideas, nonetheless). Then, everyone goes home with nary a bar napkin or note to remind them of the sudden burst of creativity that just happened out of thin air. Then everyone goes to sleep and forgets about it by morning, never realizing that it was good intentions and some social lubricant that shook (or stirred) the ideas up to begin with.

Nothing beats a decent idea backed by passion and the will to win.

When an idea makes sense, and gets people talking and joining in, that's creativity. If you ever find yourself in the middle of one of these situations, write things down. You don't have to do anything with them right away, just write. Because one day, one of those ideas will make perfect sense. Then, with some fortitude, what was once simply an expression of one's good intentions, can become something great and could be the value-add that makes a difference and sets you apart from the rest.

Pave your way to the promised land by capturing creativity as it happens. Otherwise, you may find yourself forever driving on the devil's asphalt.

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