What is the difference between a good and bad idea? Well, there are a lot of answers. The easiest answer, a good idea is good, and a bad idea is bad. A good idea resonates within its given community. Leadership mavens and people alike will get behind it because they like it. They support and own it. Why? Because the idea fills a need in that community.
Now, let us look at a bad idea. It is bad because it does not resonate. It hits contradictory notes within the community that it should benefit. Because of this, the bad idea does not gain as much support as the good idea. The good idea is then accepted, the bad idea is not.
This process is not relative or literal. Some leaders can agree on what is perceived to be a good idea, when they are just bad ideas in a good disguise. History is full of examples regarding this behavior. Back in the 1800’s and 1900’s, medicines were filled with substances that are now considered illegal, and bad for you. Coca Cola contained cocaine. Cough syrups contained a mixture of cannabis, cocaine, and heroin. Did they work? Yes. Were they good ideas? At the time yes. In retrospect, no.
Good ideas depend on the social context they were formed in. Gladiators fighting to the death was a solid idea to the ancient Romans. However, today these kinds of events would not go well in our society. On the flip side of the coin, human sacrifice was at one time a great way to avoid the wrath of the gods and guarantee great harvest. Today, we know that the act of killing someone has no direct impact to the weather, or crop harvest. The point here is that our accepted social behavior may have adapted, but the motivators that control our behavior have not kept up the pace.
Your brain is an idea machine. It will constantly observe your environment, take in information, and try to make connections between what was observed and what was already observed. These connections are the source of rational thought. The difference between rational and creative thought is direction. For instance, rational thought will always try to match like to like. Creative thought on the other hand, will sometimes try to match like with what seems to be unlike.
Be open to these moments, no matter how ridiculous they may seem. Ideas are formed when the creative brain realizes that what appeared to be like/unlike is actually like/like when seen from a new perspective.
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