Your Value, Versus the Value of Your Ideas

This is a simple principle, but one worth mentioning: Never allow your value to be confused with the value of your ideas. In other words, you have enormous value and worth. You are God’s creation and are unique. But your ideas are something very different. The ideas you generate at work, school, or at home, may be great, average, or downright terrible. But that has nothing to do with your personal worth.

If you want to get to the highest level of creativity, learn to separate your value from the value of your ideas. Too many inexperienced writers, artists, producers, or business people take judgment of their ideas personally. When an idea gets rejected, they become depressed or upset. They take it on the chin.

But a real professional simply goes back to the drawing board and tries again. He or she knows that the value of a particular idea has nothing to do with their personal value, any more than losing a case says nothing about the personal value of an attorney.

Leave your ego at home if you want to compete in the world of ideas. Learn that most of your ideas won’t work. But I’ve discovered that the only way to generate great ideas is to generate a lot of ideas.

It’s a simple thought, but one that we need to be reminded of from time to time.

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  1. Dead-on right, Phil!

    I know so many people who can't (or won't) separate what they do from who they are.  These people can't take criticism, critique, or even the slightest notion that what they are doing is less than perfect.  I know this because I used to be one of them.

    Praise God, I've been freed from this type of thinking.  Today, I'm a husband and father.  You can critique my work, and that's all you've done.  (Opinions are like armpits – we've all got a couple and they are usually hairy and stinky!)

    Most of what I do at work has to do with ideas.  I'm a writer, director, producer, arranger/composer, etc.  I often have to create video pieces from nothing, so ideas sometimes are all I have.  I'm guilty of falling into the trap of thinking that I'm only as good as my last great idea, but my worth to my boss has a lot more to do with who I am than what I do, and I'm grateful for that.

    Keep it up, Phil.

  2. It’s so true that tv is a team effort, creating a product that is usually not your artistic vision but something commissioned by a client or producer for a particular audience. As a producer, I used to think that projects I worked on were “my” films or “my” ideas– when really they are just as much about other’s input and creativity, and ultimately whoever’s providing the funding’s guidance. Being able to step back from the project and recieve other people’s insight is so important for a succesful product.

  3. Phil, I thank you for this post. I often battled with this issue in my past. Even now, at times, this line of thought tries to invade me: 1. like on a recent video project I executive produced with a colleague. Some of my ideas were shot down (ideas that I really liked) and I took it hard at first. But then, I had to come up with new ideas, which turned out to be better than my previous ones. 2. When my book was released last year and I introduced myself to others, at signings as an author, I became increasingly self-conscious as they reviewed my book. If some didn’t purchase it, I “took it on the chin” as if that somehow meant my worth was less than desirable. Now I know different and your article just helps to re-affirm what I already know to be true. Our self-worth comes from being created in the image of God. Everything else is icing on the cake.

    Allen Paul Weaver III
    author, Transition: Breaking Through the Barriers

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