Ideas, Actions and Word
I'm someone who comes up with a lot of ideas, I always have, ever since I was a little kid. Some of these ideas are naturally terrible, most of them are, but yet again there are quite a few good ones in there as well. Some ideas are driven by passion or heart, while others come purely from a place of logic.
Most of them fall somewhere in between, and with me, some of the seemingly illogical ones actually are grounded in the most logic. Think abut it, I've worked in North Korea for the past 8 years and have spent time in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, DR Congo and a whole lot of others you would not want to tell your Wonderbread white mother about.
Have you heard of an ICE Score? I hadn't until this week. During a long conversation about entrepreneurship and start ups, Matt told me about assigning ideas ICE scores. ICE stands for impact, confidence and ease as it relates to a particular idea.
-I- what may the impact of this idea be on the goal or mission of your project or life? High impact, low impact, somewhere in the middle?
-C- how confident are you that this idea is achievable or even feasible? And how confident are you that you can pull it off? What do you need to pull it off and do you have those necessary things or people to help you?
-E- how easy is this idea to do? How much time, energy, effort, money, stress, cashing in favours, etc will this idea require to execute?
ICE scoring ideas, even if just as a mental exercise, is extremely helpful in understanding prioritization and where you should allocate your energy. I mean, we only have so much energy in us and the thinner we spread that energy, the less we accomplish. As we get older I think there is a tendency to care about fewer things and focus our ideas around only a few, more important things.
We spend time with fewer people, but that time may be better in quality. We build deeper relationships and forgo the numerous shallow ones, we connect better with those we truly value, and that goes for ideas too. After all, if we gave a fuck about everything, we would not get anything done.
On top of that, we would probably find ourselves in a horrible social media fueled loop from hell, observing the lives of others, waiting for our phones to beep, ring and vibrate with the next opportunity, desperate and directionless. To pull one from Mark Manson, figure out what you care about and put your energy there, i.e. be selective with your fucks.
ICE scoring ideas helps with understanding how to spend your energy and when, where and how to take action. You can go through this exercise, scoring the I, C, and E all from 1-10 to reach a complete ICE score and then see where each value is weighed.
Next, this leads me to action versus word. I've found that in Vancouver, China and well, probably almost everywhere, people like to talk. They get excited about ideas or share ideas openly as if they are going to do them, but then don't. I'm so tired of that. If you have no intention of going through with an idea, then why discuss it forever unless we are only talking about theoretics.
Don't get me wrong, I love theoretics, everything from legitimate futuristic fantasy ideas all the way to outright hilarious troll ideas. I mean I spent one dinner talking about how fun it would be to build a giga pet dating app meets pokemon go game where you raise a digital bonobo and have to find it real time mates every two hours.
But seriously, what's driving me nuts is the talk about real ideas that never happen; the false promises, the missed dates, the calls that never happen. This is not about being adaptable or not wanting to micromanage everything. I'm not talking about last minute cancellations or not wanting to plan out every detail of a trip, those are not important to me and I'm all for adaptability, but what I'm talking about is action over talk.
Please don't say things if you don't mean them-- saying things to be polite is more hurtful in the end, and saying things out of excitement without real intent is deceptive. I don't really blame people for doing this, I've certainly been guilty of doing it too, but I want to be better.
If you say you are going to jump into some project, change jobs, move to a new city, than do it. For crying out loud. If you have no intention of doing it, than don't say it. If you're looking for advice or want to consider something new, than simply say that.
If you do it and fail, that's totally fine, at least you've learnt that maybe that idea was not that great for you or was not fully thought out. My problem has been for the last couple of years only starting ideas and then backing away.
Yes, my ideas were crap and not fully thought out sometimes, but that's actually not the biggest issue in retrospect-- I did not prioritize. More often than not, the ideas I selected to act on were like the apples from the bottom of that apple pyramid you see in supermarkets; when you pull them out everything tumbles. You can get to them eventually, but they are not your starters, you need to pull the apples from the top off first.
Ideas like the apples on the bottom not ideas you test concepts with, because their ICE scores would be off the charts. Many of the ideas I came up with during times of desperately looking to change things up were not easy ideas to accomplish. And I certainly would not be able to accomplish them without considerable energy, effort, resources and teammates (Confidence would play into this too). Could their Impact have been high, yes, maybe, but that's based on assumption without using smaller tester ideas first to figure out their feasibility and build confidence.
Regardless, if you say you're going to do something and constantly fail to live up to that, then you may have to go back to your fundamentals. Deception is hardest on oneself.
Thinking about each basic element of an idea and scoring them helps with prioritization-- allowing you to finish ideas in an order that builds towards a crescendo of experience. This will also effect the ICE scores on other ideas as you gain more experience and confidence.
You don't have to throw out all the hard ideas, rather, log them, into an idea bank or something, and score them. I'm going to try that out, along with only saying things I fully intend on actually doing. Talk to just too cheap and self-deceiving otherwise.