On Changing Your Mind (or Don’t Be Afraid To Kill Good Ideas)

Sometimes, when we have a good idea and get to work on it, we see that idea through even though it might not be our best idea.

In late March of 2009 I had an idea for a blog. I bought a domain name, got a few different logos designed, wrote content, and had the site almost ready to go …

That site was TRVLGR.com. TravelGear without the vowels.

It was going to be a weekly travel gear review and travel tips site. Benefits would be three-fold. One: I’d get free travel gear. Two: I’d get to test said free travel gear. Three: I’d get to connect with bloggers.

I didn’t plan on writing the blog to make money. (Sound familiar?)

A New Idea

By now it was the end of May 2009 and I was getting close to launching. And then … I had a new idea for a blog that I felt really passionate about. It would be about inspiring people. Helping people. And connecting with people.

That is what you’re reading right now.

Once I had the idea for Ridiculously Extraordinary (I didn’t have the name yet, just the concept), I immediately dropped TRVLGR, and got to work again.

If you look in the early archives of this site you can see a couple articles that were originally written for TRVLGR:

Zero The Hero or How To Pay 0% Credit Card Transaction Fees When Travel Outside The US

Powder Is For Babies (or How I Keep My Only Pair Of Shoes From Smelling Like Boiled Rat Piss On Extended Trips)

When I had the idea for Ridiculously Extraordinary it was like a fire was lit under my ass. I spent all of June 2009 writing, writing, writing at least 1,000 words/day. Sometimes upwards of 3,000. It was all coming so easily and it reinforced that I made the right decision. (Now in hindsight I’m definitely sure I made the right decision.)

Don’t Be Afraid To Kill Good Ideas

My point is, don’t be afraid to kill a good idea when you have a better idea.

But here’s the rub: don’t make that a habit.

Some of us jump from “good idea” to “good idea” and never get anything done.

That’s not at all what I’m advocating. What I’m advocating is to focus all your energies on an idea until you see it through or until a fire is lit under your ass for a better idea. This won’t happen often.

If I would have launched TRVLGR.com it would probably currently be languishing amongst millions of other blogs. The passion would have died. I’m not passionate about writing travel gear reviews, although it is fun every once in a while.

Should You Continue With Your Idea Or Kill It?

This is a difficult question to answer.

If you’re truly passionate about something you won’t give much thought to trying something else.

Since launching RidiculouslyExtraordinary.com I’ve had tons of ideas for other Web sites, but none of them hold a candle. I’m having too much fun with this to do something else. More than that, I’m not going to stretch myself thin and start another project in addition to this one. Focus is as important as passion.

How about you: how do you handle all the ideas that come to you? Do you try every single idea hoping something sticks? Do you focus on just one until it’s a failure or success? I’m interested in your idea vetting process …

{ 29 comments }

Giulietta Nardone

Hi Karol,

Found your site via Sarah Robinson. Can totally relate to the changing domain names. I bought a good 7 domain names before finding “the one” for my design company revamp. We get an idea, think it’s unbelievably brilliant — and it probably is at that moment — act on it — a good thing — then because we get so many brilliant ideas, we get one that’s even more fantastic.

It’s just part of the brainstorming process. I save all my ideas. They may end up being an essay or a blog post or the basis for a painting, etc.

I love your name Ridiculously Extraordinary. Well worth the extra brainstorming time.

Will check out more of your site!

Thx,

Giulietta, Inspirational Rebel

p.s. why are bloggers so afraid to try and make money with their sites? click your heels together three times and repeat after me, it’s o.k. to make money, it’s o.k. to make money, it’s o.k. to make money …

Karol

Hi Giulietta,

Awesome! Thanks for coming by from Sarah’s newsletter. :)

As far as bloggers being afraid to make money: that wasn’t the case with me. I was doing this stuff as a passion project, not a money project, and therefore was no planning on making money. That is changing as I am spending more and more time on this blog though. I totally agree that it’s OK to make money.

Karol

Juha Karjalainen

This was very interesting to know about your blog. Actually I remember I first time found your when you wrote about washing clothes in 15 mins ;)

To the handling all the ideas. I actually have to admid that I’m guite miserable priorizing all the great stuff. But normally my ideas are put to the action with other people so it’s guite easy to see that way how fast they fade away or keep going :)

I propably have in most cases same thing that you have with reviewing the travel gear. It’s funny to do it every now and then and you enjoy it…but as full-time passion will fade away… For example I know now that I propably wouldn’t be able to play and compose music in a band as full-time player, but I LOVE to do it now and then :)

Karol

Oh yes, that 15 minute clothes washing article was also for the TRVLGR site. :)

I don’t prioritize my ideas either. I write everything down, but most of it just gets filed away never to see the light of day. I just don’t want to stifle the creative process, so whatever thoughts/ideas come to me I let them out freely.

Juha Karjalainen

Jep… denying ideas really suck.. because you get good at it damn fast :)

Jenny

I love this. My first idea with domains and a blog was one that would encourage college students to study abroad, since that was one of the most impacting decisions of my life. But then, I never really got around to it and as soon as I started writing goofy posts on my current blog, I basically fell in love with blogging. I still have countless other “ideas” and I’d love to do them still, but finding one that you just can’t not do (sorry.. double negative).. is what you really need to get started. Once you have one, it’s much easier to keep the ball rolling and add more balls. Omg that sounds weird.

Karol

Can’t not do. You got it. :)

Instead of adding more balls, maybe just grow the one ball bigger? You know, snowball effect? :)

Srinivas Rao

Karol,

One of the things I tend to do is keep a list of ideas handy. I do kill alot of good ideas. Sometimes I will writes posts and just toss them in my personal archive of “I don’t have shit to write, I’ll use this.” I would say however that when it comes to different ideas one of the most important things I do is ask others for feedback. When starting BlogcastFM, I contacted Rich Lazzara to see what he thought of the idea and how to monetize. When he gave me 5 different business models, I knew that I was on to a decent idea and it was worth following through with. I also asked about 10 other people for feedback. That’s how I determine whether I should follow through or not.

Karol

Thanks Srini, that’s interesting. For the most part, I don’t ask others for feedback at the idea stage. Once something is in effect it’s easier to give and receive feedback on it.

poch

I know you would agree that having your own domain name is a good idea.
Now I’m planning to kill the idea of my free hosting. It’s too limiting so I’m
waiting for the right timing to do that. Of course not with the same inefficient webhost when I switch.

Karol

Hey Poch,

Killing the free hosting is a good idea. :) And yes, of course, your own domain is a great idea.

Karol

Shayla Height

Hi Karol,

I absolutely love your site. Great and honest topics. Thank you! I discovered your site via Manvsdebt.

As far as ideas go, I write them down in a little notebook I keep in my purse. I have had some great ideas. For me, the challenge is in implementation, but I’m steadily working through that. I’m coming to the realization that Life Lesson #14 is true: You can have anything you want. All I have to do is stop being afraid.

I don’t prioritize ideas, I just try to stay “in tune” to what’s going on – I’m always surprised that everyday life can inspire an idea. I only ask for feedback from my husband…he’s a creative person by nature (he draws comics for a living) and he provides honest and helpful feedback. It gave me the courage to start my own blog.

Keep up the great work!
Best,
Shayla

Karol

Thank you Shayla! That is so good to read. :)

We all have great ideas, so you’re right, the challenge is in implementation. That is exactly where the majority gets stuck. It really boils down to this: taking an action, any action, on any idea is better then never taking action even on the best idea.

Thanks again!
Karol

John Bardos - JetSetCitizen

Focus is probably my biggest problem now. I know I need to cut out distracting projects but which ones? It is hard to give up on ideas, especially if you have already invested a lot of time and money already.

Thanks for that Leo’s Focus link. I was linking for that before and couldn’t find it.

Karol

Even if you have invested time and money if *you’re* not invested it’s killing time.

Leo’s focus manifesto is great. Going to post a review of it soon.

Erin S.

Good is the enemy of great.

Karol

True that :)

Rasheed Hooda

Hey Karol,

Thanks for the great post, and for the great idea to kill it, if it ain’t growing. Or making you grow.

I started my blog about a year ago, because I want to live a nomadic life, but never really got passionate about it, partly because, it is not nomadism that I passionate about, but it’s personal freedom and growth that rocks my boat.

I have started my second blog, which is still in the developing stage, but I am having fun with it. LivingwithDelight is more to my liking, and I am allowing my personality to come through there. PDN was kind of stuffy for me, but gave me the opportunity to learn and grow. I was debating as to what to do with it, now I know.

Calling the hangman.

Rasheed

Karol

Hey Rasheed! Awesome that you’re killing a project for something with more passion. Congrats :)

Ivana Sendecka

Hi Karol,
I think the best way to find out which idea is good/bad, is by executing it. Once you get yourself truly doing it, you simply feel it, whether you are in your zone and in the flow or if it ain’t feeling right.
Just thinking about ideas or day dreaming might keep you busy for pretty long time, but real output and doing will only get you an answer, whether it feels right;-)
Happy blissful moments;-)
cheers,
i.

Karol

Thanks Ivana! I agree with you and Andi. Sometimes we gotta execute to figure out if an idea is worth pursuing. :)

(sorry for delayed/short comments…been hanging with my 5 year old nieces for 12 hours/day and can’t get to my computer at all! haha)

andi

I think it’s important to test out ideas in the real world (as in not just in your head) for feasibility and the amount of real passion you can put behind it. I’m notorious for ditching ideas and a lot of people say I’m just too impatient, but it’s different than impatience and you hit on it here.

Developing an idea is like developing a relationship with someone. If you’re upfront and honest with yourself and the realization of the idea, you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s something worth pursuing. Most people I know cling to ideas because they believe this ‘latest thing’ is so grand it has the right to define them. As other (better) ideas and opportunities come along, they’re terrified to let go and just like dependent relationships, they become stale and consuming.

Karol

Hey Andi,

“If you’re upfront and honest with yourself and the realization of the idea.” – This is great. I advocate this myself. It can be so difficult to be honest with ourselves but it’s hella important.

Thanks Andi!
Karol

Shannon

Well, you know that I’m getting ready to launch a travel site myself. I told myself if I could get 50 ideas for tips/posts written down, it was enough to get me going.

I had 48 w/in 24 hours. It flows so easily from me and is definitely the right fit. You know I had a previous blog which was harder for me to sustain because I didn’t have the stamina or ideas to do it. I think this feels right.

And I’m glad you started this blog and found your “right” idea.

Karol

Thanks Shannon … 48 post ideas before you launch is definitely a good indicator! :)

I liked Remarkably Clever, but I’m looking forward to TTS! ;)

ami

I needed this post.

I’m an idea person. I’m always simmering with ideas. Need an idea? Any topic, any time, I got one.

Problem is – some of them are good, some are so-so, some (eek) are bad. And sometimes the quality of the idea is simply a matter of timing. I run around trying to keep all those ideas (and post-it notes) in view – which takes energy away from all of them. Better to take your suggestion: focus on the BEST idea and execute.

Sounds like a great path to success. thanks.

Karol

Thanks for commenting Ami! As they say, ideas are a dime a dozen, right? Great that this article helped you. :)

Nicutza

I’m just starting out in blogging and I can’t claim I’m succesful either.
In summer, I’ve started a blog about street fashion and I literally hunted down people on the street, stopped them to take a photo and ask a few questions, based mostly not on what they wore, but on the “philosophy” behind that and about their lifestyle. I even asked them what life motto they had! True, it’s not what fashion is about, but what I truly wanted is to connect to interesting young people who have a different view about life – and this translating into their appearance.
But the truth is I was not pursuing the right way: I wanted to find out more about their passion and about WHAT makes them interesting, but I was focusing on clothes. Wrong move, huh?
So, when I realized my blogging schedule fell out because of my lack of passion, I stopped.
After a half of year an idea buzzed into my head. I already had in my journal e-book, book and blog articles reviews/summaries and a lot of essays and quotes about happiness and freedom of choise. So, I’ve started a second blog that I’ve named “Creier Cret(z)”, which from Romanian is translated as “curly brain” (I’m a curly girl myself so that came easy :D) Besides my writings, I plan on interviewing interesting people about their passion and WHAT makes them interesting (sounds familiar, right?), focusing on their way of thinking. I still have a tremendous work to do, but unless the first blog, I am passionate about it.
I think we don’t always find the best way to do things that we want, and that’s why we shouldn’t be afraid to quit sometimes.
Thank you for reading this huge comment of mine! :-)

Karol

Hi Nicutza! Thanks for leaving a huge comment. :)

Congrats on killing a blog you weren’t passionate about and starting one that you are passionate about.

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