The One Thing You Need to Come up with Great Ideas

You just need to be really smart…

I’m kidding!

Actually the weird thing is having great ideas has nothing to do with your IQ. How do I know? I’m smart.

(Stop fooling around and get to the point, Natasha!)

Ok, ok.

Last August when I left my job, I spent all days sitting on the floor, scheming the next stage of my career. I’d madly write down ideas on scraps of paper, making my living room a mess. Why? Because that’s what all the geniuses did in the movies. Surely that’s how you get brilliant, earth-shattering ideas, right?


I ended up with close to 100 ideas. None of them made me want to run down the street naked and kiss a stranger. Even my dog looked at me like, “That’s all you’ve got? Lame!”

I whined to everyone who’d listen: “I don’t know what I should do next! I don’t have any good ideas!”

This went on for months. I was waiting and waiting for my big aha moment when I could say, “This is it! I want to devote my life to this brilliant thing.” The moment never came.

Then one day I was doing laundry and listening to a podcast. I thought to myself, “Hmm…I love podcasts. Wouldn’t it be fun to make one myself?”

I decided I’d make the podcast about one thing I was really passionate about: entrepreneurship. I started calling up successful business owners in the city and asked if they’d like to be interviewed and share their knowledge. To my complete amazement, many of them said yes.

That was how Founders Nextdoor got started. I had no skin in the game still. I thought this was just something fun to do as I waited for my BIG idea to arrive that would cure cancer and rid the galaxy of stormtroopers.

But while I was fumbling through my first podcast interviews as a newbie host, I quickly got frustrated with the medium. Yes, I love listening to stuff on the go and learn new information. But podcasts takes so much time to sift through. I had to listen to 20 minutes of a host (yep, that’s me) babbling on to find a golden nugget that’s worth learning.

Wouldn’t it be great if there’s an audio publication where it’s all useful knowledge and no fluff?

Well, since there’s none, I guess I’ll just start one then. And that’s how I got the idea for Soundwise, a mobile platform that helps you learn new things on the go.

And of course an audio platform like that needs great content. That led me to the idea of creating a course called “The Future is Now: Your Complete Career Guide in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”, which I’m developing now.

The moral of the story?

When you think you need great ideas, what you really need is taking action.

Action begets inspiration. Action creates momentum. Action tells you what’s working and what’s not. Without action, you can sit there dreaming and scheming all day, trying to get ideas out of thin air. But most of the time, what you come up with wouldn’t be worth a dime.

When you feel stuck, do something. Anything. Pick up any of your shitty ideas and run with it. Start prototyping, picking up the phone, putting your ugly creation out into the world.

And then watch that ugly thing you created start to grow a mind of its own, and lead you down an amazing path that you wouldn’t have thought of in a million years, even with the infinite brilliance like yours.

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