Seeking validation may kill your ambition

This article is written by Paul Edem Kuenyefu, from Agbozume, Ghana. Paul is an author, inspirational speaker and entrepreneur leading change in rural Ghana. Please read his article and leave your thoughts below.

The human mind is perhaps the most underrated treasure trove. In the mind lies possible solutions to the problems which plague humanity. Imagination may yet be the greatest creative or productive force available to the human race. Everything produced, tangible or intangible, goes through two main stages: first is the mental creation and second, its physical manifestation. Most of the breakthroughs we see and feel around us today were once ideas on the minds of people, which they conceived and transformed into mental pictures that they visualised with their mind’s eye. Indeed, imagination is everything.

Often, when the mind conceives an idea, it usually seems impossible to implement. These ideas mostly are outright “revolutionary” and may be years ahead of prevailing trends. Owing to this, such ideas are given the ‘impossible’ tag. For originators of these ideas, this is where conviction and resolve have critical roles to play in either holding firm to these ideas and following them through, or simply discarding and abandoning them. Seeking validation of one’s idea by people, before following the idea, kills ambition. In fact, it perhaps has led to the abandonment of many great ideas which could have made humanity better and raked in fortunes for the originators.

Do the opinions of people matter? Perhaps they do, but nothing should override the conviction of the carrier of an amazing vision. Following through with a compelling vision irrespective of dissenting opinions, would be far better than the regret of abandonment.  The courage of conviction is the reformer’s best friend.

Is the case being made that involving stakeholders (in this case potential customers) in decision making is not worth it? Absolutely not! The crux of the argument is that potential customers or the generality of people don’t always have it figured out. It therefore will be better for the innovator or originator to follow his gut and see it through. Sometimes, people unintentionally discourage the implementation of potentially amazing ideas because they probably don’t understand or grasp the concept behind them. It happens!

It is said that most people usually don’t know what they want until they are presented with something they like. Perhaps, they have limited imagination. Therefore, this suggests that they would be willing to reward anyone who stretches his or her imagination to make their lives better and less stressful.  They might have been same people to say that the idea won’t work, had it been presented to them earlier, at its stage of conception. I dare say that in this regard, it is better to seek ratification than permission.

Henry Ford had the “crazy” idea for motor engines, but people were used to horses. Most definitely would have opted for faster horses than some “motor vehicle” they can’t even imagine. At least, they knew horses. When you are convinced your idea or proposed invention would make life better for others, seeking their approval or permission before following it through would most likely be counter – productive.  We are all glad today that Henry held firm to his idea of the motor vehicle.

The innovator has to study trends. They think about what will solve people’s problems and make their lives easier. They design a solution which ‘wows’ them, and possibly walk to the bank smiling. It is true that people don’t embrace some changes immediately, but eventually, they will, when they see the good it brings.

In response to a greener environment, Elon Musk and his company, Tesla, have created the electric car. It is possible that had Elon asked people, they would have suggested something different.

Perhaps it is time, now more than ever to act boldly on our convictions which make life easier and better for humanity.

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