Idea Limbo

Where Your Ideas Go to Die

TL;DR: The most effective way of keeping your ideas out of limbo is to share them with others.

I love thinking about universal concepts; things that every single human on Earth has in common. It really does put things in perspective.

In this case, I’m referring to a topic in which I’m extremely passionate about:


I love creating them, hearing about them, pursuing them, you name it. The most amazing thing about ideas is the that every single person on Earth has them.

Whether or not we choose to share our ideas is a completely different story.

Some of us may feel uncomfortable voicing our thoughts while others may not have ever had the chance in the first place. In this way, ideas are like relationships. Each has an intoxicating honeymoon phase that promises the excitement of anticipation and potential. On the other hand, each can also die a slow death thanks to indecision and things left unspoken.

As soon as your idea is born, time starts ticking. The longer you keep your baby in your notebook, or “idea limbo,” the more likely it is to wither and die.

This is a dark place full of self-doubt and regret. It is a graveyard for “million dollar ideas” and “next big things.” As bleak as this sounds, it’s something you already were already aware of in the back of your mind. You’ve undoubtedly been there before and you’ll most likely visit again.

What is the easiest way to avoid idea limbo?

Share your idea with the next person you meet.

It doesn’t matter if you know them or not. Hell, it doesn’t even matter if your idea is meant for them. At this point, it isn’t about validating your ideas; it’s about keeping them alive.

Your idea is on life support and sharing it with someone else will give it the extra boost of oxygen it needs. This is especially true if you are exploring a few different ideas, each one competing for your time and attention.

I’ve gone through this process so many times now that whenever I write down an idea for the first time, I automatically run it by at least five people who I know will give me objective feedback. If you don’t already have this circle of trust in place, start building it now. Not only will it help in the beginning; these people will play an important part once your idea is ready to share with the rest of the world.

Remember, when looking people, focus on objectivity. Ignore this, and you can expect all kinds of responses, some of which will include:

“Honey, that’s such a great idea! You’re so smart!”
“That’s my little boy/girl. I always knew you were the creative one in the family!”

And my personal favorite:

“I don’t get it. Is this another one of your ‘ideas’?”

Some of these may already sound familiar depending on how many ideas you’ve shared in the past. As comforting as it is to talk with friends and family, this will get you nowhere.

If you are dead-set on sharing with people you know, single out that one friend. You know exactly the one I’m talking about. We all have that friend who plays the “naysayer” or “party pooper.” They may not be the most fun to be around, but they will give you the best kind of feedback: critical feedback.

This type of feedback stings initially, but will ultimately get you to where you need to go.

After initially sharing your idea, you’ll start to notice something. Your idea is still your precious little baby, it has just grown up a little. It may be able to stand on its own two legs.

Your goal is to give your idea enough time and attention to grow. Once it is mature enough, you will know if it’s worth pursuing or not.

Just make sure to avoid the ambiguity of idea limbo.

Are you working on your own idea? How are you keeping it out of limbo? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @williamfrazr.

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