Why a Great Idea Might Be the Wrong Idea


Every choice you make—about your health, finances, family, faith, or work—will move you either forward or backward. Consider the following factors before you pursue an untested idea.

Everyone loves the easy way out. If you need convincing, just consider the diet industry—now generating upwards of $60 billion every year. Literally thousands of new books are published annually, promising to reveal new and exciting ways to lose weight. There are plans to help you lose weight in ten days; plans endorsed (and supposedly implemented) by celebrities; plans promoting miracle fat-burning foods; and even plans involving secret codes said to be found in scripture.

Certainly there are many legitimate products, programs and publications that can help motivate you to lose weight and develop health-improving strategies. But intuitively, you know that getting thin comes down to the difficult discipline of consuming fewer calories than you burn over a long period of time. With every new fad diet that comes along, it’s easy to be distracted from this core truth.

Sometimes the newfangled, the novel, and the new-and-improved ideas should be avoided. Every choice you make—about your health, finances, family, faith, or work—will move you either forward or backward. So consider the following before you pursue an untested idea:

Hazards of experimentation

Great new ideas can harm you. Remember fen-phen? It was a “miracle” weight loss drug later found to cause serious cardiac issues. And what about Bernie Madoff, the Wall Street con man who convinced investors of his ability to generate fantastic returns? There’s a place in life for risk-taking, but it must be done strategically—and you should always check your motives. Are you seeking a dubious shortcut? Is greed involved? Does this new idea require you to disregard principles you know to be true?

Execution trumps innovation

Every year, the U.S. Patent office recognizes about a quarter of a million new inventions. Very few of them ever go anywhere. There’s no dearth of new ideas, but there is an acute shortage of people with the diligence and tenacity to carry out what’s already proven to be successful. Before you jump to the next big thing, consider whether you have given the tried-and-true its due. It’s easy to abandon things when they become challenging—even matters of faith. “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting,” said the theologian G.K. Chesterton. “It has been found difficult and left untried.”

Embrace and enhance the old

Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile. Billy Graham wasn’t the creator of the evangelistic crusade. And computers were around long before Steve Jobs. Each of them embraced old ideas and existing technologies and improved on them. And though each of them failed miserably along the way, they never quit.

Are you waiting for a new idea whose time will never come? Perhaps an old-school answer or solution is already within your reach! Make it your One Thing today to take action, stay with it and see it through.


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