Too Many Ideas? (with video)

“A surplus of ideas is as dangerous as a drought.” ~ Scott Belsky from Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

Do you start many conversations like this? “I’ve got this great idea…” Well, many of us begin sentences with that sentiment. Myself included, and I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with what I believe to be the best idea I have ever had. Sleepily, I search for my laptop so the idea doesn’t get lost in the wake/sleep zone. Many people keep a journal next to their bed for such events, but not me. I have folders and folders on my laptop with ideas. There are files about kids, the perfect school, my eco-dream house, my knitting projects, design, photography, the Gulf, the world, travels, and…this blog. Actually, I have four posts started on my desktop right this very moment…

When a GOOD article by Scott Belsky called, How to Overcome Idea-to-Idea Syndrome landed in my Inbox, it caught my attention. As I started reading, I felt like I had just tip-toed into one of those medical sites to find out about some benign rash, and might leave thinking I have only three months to live. There it was, staring at me from across the screen: YOU HAVE IDEA-TO-IDEA SYNDROME.

Ok, take a deep breath. A syndrome is only a label. Labels can’t hurt…Let’s take a closer look at what Scott is talking about (and I am sure I have):

“Idea-to-idea syndrome is the tendency to launch new ideas while still executing other ideas (yes). As soon as an idea becomes an active project, we become burdened by the minutia of execution (yes). Long days and late nights cause us to get lost in what I have come to call the “project plateau”—the part of a project when excitement and energy run low and the end is still out of sight (yes). The quickest escape from the project plateau is simple. Conceive a new idea (yes, yes). Immediately, when you get excited about something new and shiny, your hopes lift as your creative juices kick in (yes, yes, yes). But, as a result, your previous idea is left stranded in the project plateau amidst other carcasses of abandoned ideas (Oh no!).”

Do you have “Carcasses of abandoned ideas”? I checked my computer files and they are filled with decay. Lots and lots of abandoned ideas. What do you do with them? Scott calls says, “Productive idealists recognize the value of building an immune system and resisting the seduction of creative flings that seldom last.”

Should we heed Scott’s advice and start to think like a “productive idealist”? Is resisting the temptation to collect too many ideas really a bad thing? Do your creative ideas floweth over? How do you bring your creative ideas to fruition?

Hear what Scott has to say about Making Ideas Happen:

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Emma S.
Emma S.3 years ago

It took me a stupidly long time to realise this was my problem. For ages I thought it was a dearth of ideas, then that I had ideas but they were all rubbish/unoriginal. I teach theatre, and from telling students to give their ideas a chance I've once again been confronted with the old 'Physician Heal Thyself' spectre!

Barb F.
Barb F.5 years ago

interesting take on it, but it also translates to what would be a world without so many artists and other creative minds that multitask naturally for works in progress to be completed, that thought I do not like.

Eleanor P.
Eleanor P.5 years ago

@Ann---you are absolutely right, the only problem there would be all of the ideas we could come up with to stop creating all of the unfinished or unfeasible ideas that we have!

Betty C.
Betty C.5 years ago


Ann Eastman
Ann Eastman5 years ago

I had previously come to the glum realization that I need some external structure (deadlines and such) to get things finished. Not begun- but finished. Maybe I should start a support group for people with Idea to Idea Syndrome? Note that the acronym is ITIS! But more seriously, thanks for the article.

Borg Drone
Borg Drone5 years ago

Thanks For Posting !!

Heidi R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Good points. There is a difference between a day dreamer and a visionary.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.5 years ago

Dianne D, you are never too old to see your ideas come to life. Just think of the many you may be depriving of the fruits of those ideas.

Deborah W.
Deborah w.5 years ago

Some people who have too many great ideas might be Bipolar! I used to be like that and none of my ideas came to fruition or they would be a disaster.

pat B.
pat B.5 years ago

UGH. A GS drone.