Ideas are either the engine of achievement or the instruments of destruction. Ideas have such power because ideas precede action. An idea without action is ineffectual. Good ideas can be supported with sound reasoning. They can withstand scrutiny, analysis, and challenge.
A bad idea is not merely a good idea that didn’t work out as expected. A bad idea is rooted in selfishness and shows a total disregard for the well being of others. People who purposely espouse bad ideas typically have an air of superiority.
A bad idea defies logic. It will crumble if questioned. Bad ideas have to be forced on people. Good ideas attract supporters like a magnet. Both good and bad ideas can be equally powerful. Only by using intelligence and common sense can we distinguish between them.
An idea can impact one or many. Ideas that effect an individual are obviously not as critical as those that have broader consequences. When you have an idea for your own life that doesn’t work, you are the one impacted. When someone else has an idea for how others should live, and it proves to be wrong, many may suffer.
Good ideas are easy to explain and understand. They make sense. People will flock to support good ideas. Good ideas help make life better. All of the societal and technological advances throughout history are the result of good ideas.
Bad ideas are responsible for suffering, misery, and abuse of some groups of people by others. Invariably, bad ideas are cloaked in secrecy and deception. They are implemented by coercion with the explicit goal of silencing all dissent.
Bad ideas are used to gain power under the false premise of being benevolent. Bad ideas are used to advance surreptitious, selfish agendas. They are promoted with lies and false promises. People who knowingly promote bad ideas don’t care about anyone else’s well being.
Bad ideas can’t take hold when people speak up and object. It’s apathy, along with complacency, that enables bad ideas to persist. Bad ideas can be identified by asking a few simple questions. 1. Do only a few benefit? 2. Are people harmed? 3. Is doing nothing better than implementing the idea? If the answers are yes, the idea probably isn’t a good one.
Our country was built on some of the best ideas ever conceived. In order for us to continue to prosper, the flow of good ideas must persist. Good ideas emanate not from groups, but from individuals. History is shaped by the ideas of outstanding individuals, not committees.
Not everything can be improved. When something is working well, it should be left alone. There is a lot of wisdom to the adage, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” So search for and support good ideas. Speak out and oppose bad ones. Ideas are too powerful to be taken lightly.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at email@example.com or write him c/o this paper.
© Bryan Golden