A short book with many ideas packed in, I found cartoonist-blogger Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody” to be inspiring and motivational, even though I wasn’t always able to relate to all the lessons. MacLeod encourages people to find their creativity by deciding what it is one believes in, then to pursue it full-force and risk everything, “ignoring” the excuses and distractions along the way.
It seems to me that this book was directed towards people that are in a lull in their career. These are either people who got sucked into the corporate world too early to become their own person with their own ideas, or people who think that they don’t have what it takes to have “the next big idea”.
While I’m not looking to have “the next big idea” and I am very happy in my non-corporate, open-to-ideas-no-matter-your-level-of-experience job, there are some excellent points that were both encouraging and instructive. Some of the highlights are:
“Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships. That is why good ideas are always initially resisted.“
In this lesson, MacLeod tells us that those with power can be threatened by good ideas, because it might challenge their authority. It reminds me of “Of Mice and Men,” where power is divided between brawn and brains. If Lennie Small was to ever have a great idea, it would no doubt be squandered (initial resistance), later to have the credit taken by George Milton.
“The Sex and Cash Theory”
This theory states that everyone has two jobs in life. One job they do for “sex”, as in they get enjoyment from it. The other, typically the day job, they do for money, because the bill collector doesn’t accept good ideas as payment. The example he gives here is an artistic photographer leveraging his expenses with commercial catalogue shoots.
“The first rule of business, is never sell something you love. Otherwise you may as well be selling your children”
I have mixed feelings about this lesson. On one hand, the example tells us why this is a good idea. An antique dealer wasn’t making any money because he subconsciously was pricing his beloved pieces too high. Once he identified the problem, he started to restore fireplaces, which were bulky and couldn’t wait to sell.
However, I feel that people should be passionate about what they do, and if they really love something, they will put forth more effort to make it successful. I think the difference here is materialistic possessions versus abstract ideas.
So what did I take from this book? More than being inspired to be creative, I was motivated to go after goals outside my profession that I am passionate about. I asked everyone at HMA to identify their “big idea”, be it a personal goal, a revolutionary idea or a money-making product. Rather than taking turns verbally explaining our creativity, we visualized them on Scoreboards. Scoreboards are my version of The Secret’s Vision Board, a collage depicting everything you want in your life. The difference is the Score Board visualizes the steps to one big ultimate idea.
We busted out the glue sticks and magazines and got to clipping. Here is what we came up with:
Me (Stephanie): My plan is to develop some sort of user-contributed network for shelters and individuals to post homeless dogs available for adoption. It will be a hub for shelters statewide, a one-stop shop. People can repost Craigslist listings and upload lost or found dog signs using camera phones. I took the first baby-step and started AZ Adoptables. It’s not much now, but if I can save one dog, it will be worth it. Oh, and Justin Timberlake will be the spokesperson once it really takes off.
Scott: “No surprise here, mine is all about sports. I really like the idea of teamwork and everyone working together, so using those skills in my profession and teaching others to do the same is my goal. And, of course, I like winning!”
Abbie: “My goal is to combine my desire to do more travel and my hectic work schedule. I have my plan all worked out in my head, but you’ll have to wait to see it become reality down the road.”
Alison: “Well, my true dream is to write smutty summer novels like Jackie Collins. But, I would want those novels turned into a movie and long-running TV series along the vein (pardon the pun) of True Blood or Vampire Diaries. So, my appended goal is to win an MTV Movie Award based on my successful novel being turned into a movie. Then, after the win, J.J. Abrams will buy the rights to my follow-up novels in the series and HBO will produce.”
Brittany: “On my scoreboard, it shows that in the future, I plan on getting married, getting a puppy and starting a family. When I retire, I hope to be able to travel all over the world and start riding horses again and hopefully even teach lessons. Riding horses is something that took up a big chunk of my childhood and I think about jumping ‘back in the saddle’ (pun intended) almost daily. I would love to teach lessons at a fun travel destination.”
Rachel*: “I plan to establish a performing and creative arts center wherein children with disabilities (mental, physical, emotional etc.) can express their gifts through movement, music, art, theatre and more!”
What would you put on your Scoreboard? Please share your own "big idea" in the comments below.
*Everyone welcome our new summer intern, Rachel Lilly! Yesterday was her first day on the job and she got to play arts ‘n crafts, tough gig!