Why we never seem to finish our great ideas

Some guy on HN asked recently about a problem that most of us have.

You know that brilliant web-app that you came up with in the shower? The one that you know is going to change the world when its released? After coming out of the shower, you rush to your room, usually still dripping wet, to take out a piece of paper and scribble the idea down before you forget.

What are you going to need? You’re going to need to get a domain name, you’re going to use Ruby on Rails to develop, you’re going to signup for a 256MB slice at Slicehost to host it, you’re going to hire a marketing guy with some of the money left over from your previous consulting job, you’re going to go to Hackerspace to find a co-founder to help you develop the software and you’re going to launch it … and eventually retire in a nice beach house overlooking the Caribbean Sea with all the money you’re going to rake from it.

Good stuff ain’t it. We all have experienced that. Some people managed to do all that, but for most of us, many times we just stop somewhere in between developing the application and launching it. I’m guilty too. Hell, today I have over 20 directories in my codebase/ folder with webapp ideas that were started halfway and abandoned. We just can’t help doubting ourselves.

  • “I’m never good enough”
  • “Someone has already done an app like this, why should I reinvent the wheel”
  • “Why should I bother going to meet this VC, I’m never going to get funding. I’d might as well stay at home and eat ice-cream.”

Turns out, there’s a simple explanation to why we can never seem to complete a project. Fear. Resistance. Seth Godin calls it, the Lizard Brain. A part of the brain we all have that makes us fearful of failure.

I’m sharing it with you his speech in the hope that it might inspire you, even if for a while, to revive your dead projects and finish it.

Seth Godin: Quieting the Lizard Brain from 99% on Vimeo.

For me, I’m going to say it here in public. I’ll be launching v0.1 of a new mobile-based application, me and another friend have only recently thought of, in a month’s time. Even though we haven’t gotten a lot of the inner logistical work figured out. We’re going to ship it.

What about you?

Scott Belsky: How to Avoid the Idea Generation Trap

Scott Belsky: How to Avoid the Idea Generation Trap from 99% on Vimeo.