this thin filament

Not my original thoughts, but a great list of questions if you’re interested in providing a service (a blog, a business, consulting – basically any service you can think of):

  • What needs do people have that I can fulfill?
  • What trend or trends are present here?
  • What opportunities do they present?
  • What are the current gaps in the marketplace?
  • What is the insight that can lead me to create greater value in this segment?
  • How can I leverage what I know about this category or industry that makes sense for my [work] and my brand name?
  • How can I test the efficacy of my idea?

These ideas came from Thomas Edison, and they are remarkably applicable 100 years after he said them. I am trying to apply these ideas to my thought process about future work after my current career winds down.

What really kills me – and this happens more and more often – is how much inspirational and quite frankly useful stuff has already been written. So much of what’s written about inspiration, getting rich, etc. has already been covered better and earlier. Even what I’m trying to write about has probably been covered better by people like Ben Franklin already. It’s amazing how “The Secret” is not really a secret – it’s there and it’s available, we (and I include myself) just don’t take advantage of it.

The simplest, most straightforward ideas are right there. They are public domain works. You don’t need to buy anything. You don’t need to attend a seminar. It’s all free already – the concepts behind wealth and health and happiness. Don’t buy another self-help book, just hit the Internet. In 10 years it will all be monetized and privatized, but right now it’s the biggest treasure trove of free information the world has ever seen…

(photo credit by ishrona)

6 comments

  • Aaah, but here’s a question for you. With all the mountains of literature written on how to be wealthy, healthy and happy, why do you suppose there are still SO many people that are not? That’s why there will always be more room for more people to contribute their perspectives to these age old questions.

  • I was on the same line of thought as RetiredSyd. I don’t think the point is all about “Original Ideas” but more about presenting an idea in a way that will speak to people. We all tend to hear what we want to hear – sometimes it’s a certain author, musician, or politician that connects with us as individuals. I wouldn’t say there is a whole heck of a lot of “originality” in any of our current presidential candidates – but Obama seems to be delivering his message in a way that people are hearing it. I think the same holds true with writers – if they hit it at the right time in the right form… crazy success. Like J.K. Rowling – stunning success. I believe if we approach our work authentically it will resonate with people.
    And dude – you are totally right on the buckets off free info available on the web. It’s an amazing thing!

  • RS: A lot of people are poor because no matter how much they read about “how to be wealthy or rich” they do not change their mental attitude and they are lazy to take any actions. We all dream of being rich, but that’s not enough. For most people it stays as a dream, not a goal.

  • @RetiredSyd: Dawn actually gave an answer to your question, which is that the message has to appeal to the individual. I may think Robert Kiyosaki is inspirational and the next person may think he’s a hack; someone else may find Dave Ramsey to be a genius and I might find him tedious. It just depends on the individual to such a huge extent that crafting a universal message is almost impossible – the same reason why we aren’t all Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Atheists or Zoroastrians. The 100% convincing argument on spirituality or wealth or ANY topic doesn’t exist. So you’re right that there’s always room to provide new takes on the same stuff – I guess my point was that an awful lot of “new” content is just old content repackaged. Doesn’t make it bad, though.

    Great way to put it, Dawn. And Bubelah’s right – I have read a lot of books on wealth but I’ve probably still only put about 1% of those ideas into action. A lot of that knowledge lodges itself into the “dream” section of the brain rather than the “action” section. I am trying to quit reading more “wealth building” info and start putting those ideas into wealth building ACTION myself, because it’s awfully easy to read and awfully hard to do. To quote from The Science of Getting Rich (yes, I know, I’m doing what I just preached against 🙂 ):

    “Thinking in a certain way will bring riches to you, but you must not rely upon thought alone, paying no attention to personal action. That is the rock upon which many otherwise scientific thinkers meet shipwreck — the failure to connect thought with personal action.”

  • “He was here, at this point in space, a million dollars was at that other point a little ways away. He just couldn’t see a path from where he was to where that million dollars was.”

    I wrote that in one of my novels a few years back (no prizes for naming the novel). I still think it succinctly summarizes how we are bound by the limits in what we believe we can accomplish. It’s not necessarily due to the lack of effort so much as in where to focus that effort, and how to take the successive steps to reach that goal.

  • Shawn@MoneyBrick

    Your post is good, Steve, but I think you’ve got one thing wrong! The treasure trove of free information we know as the Internet (more than just public domain works) has broken down all the barriers previously preventing many things from being free. In ten years, things will be even freer than they are now! Publishers probably won’t even be able to sell books at that point in time; they’ll have to search for other means of an income. I think it was ten years past (even longer) that things were privatized and monetized.