The Inherent Value of Ideas

“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go farther than a great idea that inspires no one” – Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

We all get hundreds, if not thousands of ideas a day, without fail. Most of the ideas fail to make a mark in our memory. They come and go like the raindrops that no one ever cares to count and rightly so. However, a rare idea sticks into our long-term memory to haunt us for days on end. Some of these memorable ideas take concrete shapes whereas a considerably large measure evaporates like the morning fog. The ideas that actually survive help us chart our course in the future.

President Kennedy (JFK) explained the relevance of ideas in such precise words:

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

There are times in life when our unexplored idea comes to haunt us while someone else springs up with the same and earns plaudits. We might have thought of the idea as irrelevant. Perhaps we were too scared to share this idea with anyone else for fear of being ridiculed but the other person thinks of the same thing and gathers the courage to bring it out in front of others to be exclaimed a bright thinker. How would you justify your thinking in such a situation?

Every invention we see around us, all the latest equipment, gadget, convenience, product and/or service is born out of someone’s idea that saw the light of the day. Yes, it is true so many remarkable ideas of years gone by have already seen their hay-day and gone the way of the dodo bird. Does that justify holding back on our ideas even if it meant a short life-span but mass appeal? I do not think so!

The way ideas have taken the center-stage in our fast-growing economy only time will tell what awe-inspiring inventions and/or discoveries are waiting in the wings. The age-old bicycle has found a niche in the health & fitness industry where riding fancy models costing as much as 1000X as much as an ordinary poor man’s transport has become a status symbol. Gone are the Telex and Teleprinters, FAX machines, Floppy as well as Compact Disks. Even the external or portable Hard Disk Drives have lost their relevance in the face of ‘Cloud’ technology.

The ongoing race to stay ahead of the competition has brought our ‘global village’ to ‘Internet of Things’ where connectivity is expanding to items of daily use. Industries as diverse as manufacturing, logistics, medicine, agriculture, insurance, even education have all found such initiatives of tremendous value. Where did it originate from, if not in an idea?

The root cause of connectivity can be attributed to our need for communication. In order to communicate, we must first have an idea before deciding upon the recipient of the same. When two individuals confer with each other ideas fly both ways. They could relate to simple gestures of good wishes or multi-million dollar ideas involving commerce. No matter how you cut it, ideas differentiate humans from all other life forms.

Mm. Marie Curie said it so well: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

Not only did she discover two elements, polonium and radium but also developed the theory of radioactivity. Credit goes to her for setting up the world-renowned Curie Institutes in both Paris (France) and Warsaw (Poland) that act as major research centers in the field of medicine. If it was not her continued pursuit of ideas, we might have missed out on such valuable scientific theories and discoveries.

We could go into an unending debate on the significance of ideas in our life but what matters the most is how far do we imbibe the value inherent within those ideas to take us further, way further than the ‘madding crowds.’ Let us seek some guidance from the profound wisdom of Lord Buddha’s words:

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

I would let you, the discerning readers, be the judge and the jury to decide on the relevance of my above submission and see whether it helps you move a bit forward in your daily life or not.


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