Barrier 2 Fear of Looking Stupid

There's something else that we fear, sometimes even more than failure. And that is the fear of "what they'll think" about our idea. Our only consolation is that we are their "they" when they're fearing what others think.

But this fear is nothing to be scoffed at; it prevents people from taking a leap. I can see the apprehension around a new idea in the work I do with businesspeople every week. Often they look at a new idea, then think, "Hmm, they're not going to like it. I might look like an idiot. I might lose my job. How am I going to pay the mortgage? I'm going to have to move my family under the viaduct." it's an eight-second thought chain that leads from "they might not like it" to "life under the viaduct." Why risk it?

Why? Because you have to risk it in order to succeed.

one of the benefits of the methods we're covering in this book is that failure is built into your creative processes. You're allowed to fail. If you're doing 100 MPH Thinking and come up with 50 ideas, you could fail 49 times and still succeed. With 180° Thinking, we're trying to fail; we're trying to come up with bad ideas in the name of succeeding, to loosen our brains and loosen our apprehensions.

Would it make you feel any better to know that some of the most highly accomplished people of all time have had the fear of looking stupid?

One of the greatest all-time writing duos of rock 'n' roll wrote songs early in their careers using a pseudonym. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, often referred to as the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band, first started writing songs under the pen name of Nanker Phelge. Look on their first few records and see for yourself. Could it be that they were fearful of putting themselves out there?

The Beatles, arguably the best rock 'n' roll band of all time, were writing their own material long before they were playing it in public or recording it. There are many authors who have never sent a manuscript to a publishing house or an agent for fear of rejection, fear of failure. I confess that I myself wrote a spy novel in the mid-1980s, received two rejection letters, then put the manuscript under my bed to collect dust.

Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work.

Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work.

Fear of failure and rejection gets in the way of great accomplishment. But just because you might fail during the ideation phase doesn't mean you necessarily have to fail in the end. Maybe my spy novel would have been better if I had practiced 100 MPH Thinking in coming up with the plot, then chosen the best from among 50 plot ideas.

Failure in the conceptual phase is not failure. No high-achieving person is without failure in the laboratory of his or her mind. But it's only the successes we look at, the great novelists, the great playwrights and songwriters and scientists.

Thomas Edison

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