The Inventor’s Paradox
I love Google (read Yahoo/Bing/Ask, whoever). It is my best friend because it knows it all! It’s like I am accessing the joint 7% of other people’s brains that they are using. Thanks for sharing!! Who knows where our unused 93% went? If anyone finds mine, please email me. I should have an internet connected device wired into my brain. Actually, give it a couple of years. I am sure someone somewhere must be working on it.
Anyway, unfortunately the world wide internet, apart from being THE BEST INVENTION EVER BAR NONE, (saving endless arguments, reminding you the name of the actor in the movie you’re watching so you can concentrate on the movie etc) can also be a massive dampener.
Because the internet ‘knows it all’, it is by definition a ‘know-it-all’, you know, the kind of person you hate who gets all excited as their brain instantly makes the connections long before your overworked brain can, and with a big smile pours forth their complete understanding of a subject you are still trying to comprehend the darn title of.
Actually in a few situations I am that know-it-all, I confess. I think we all can be, in the areas that our DNA is arranged to understand. That should be a lesson on what we should be doing with our lives, by the way, even if it is flower arranging or hula hooping, but that’s another post. Of course not everyone gets as excited as I probably do about things which is lucky for them because it causes the connection between my brain and mouth (or my emotional intelligence) to drop out. Even as I see people’s eyes glaze over, I sometimes can’t stop! And I don’t do it a lot, you will be pleased to hear as I am critically deficient in certain areas, such as anything that involves kinesthetic awareness, so you will find me frowning and forming strange positions with my hands and unspoken half words with my mouth as I try to comprehend basic hand-eye coordination.
If your emotional intelligence is always in gear you are probably the biggest critic of the know-it-all, but apparently the things that annoy us most are those we have within us also, so watch out.
Anyway, I digress…. The reason Google suddenly joins forces with the rational, mood killing mind, is that when you get a great, unique, oh my god I am such a genius idea and you check on Google to confirm that you are indeed the next coming of Einstein, you find that most likely it has not only already been thought of already but has been done in such an incredibly well thought out, ten steps ahead of you, and isn’t-that-a-brilliant-addition? kind of way. So you go, sad and defeated, back to square one and wonder why you haven’t stuck at something long enough to make this incredible invention/site yourself. The voices tell you not only that it’s already been done but that ‘they’ are better than you. So here is where I would like to add another support voice (Sybil, are you listening?) – Well bloody done! You are unique, you thought of it all by yourself, and it was such a fantastic idea that someone else has taken it to the nth degree and now they are probably making a great living out of it! You are on the right track, go girl! Or boy! It was just a matter of timing after all.
I could write a large list of things I invented all by myself, after someone else had! And that’s the way the world works…. But here’s the thing…. according to the best selling book The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, the best part of the internet is that we can share resources and build upon what others are doing. Or, you may have heard this one “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. For example we like to think all our cancer charity dollars are going to brilliant scientists who are taking all that has been learned worldwide before them and building upon that knowledge to find a cure. Imagine if they had woken up one day, thinking ‘I know! I am going to cure cancer!!’ and then got all disheartened as they checked it out on Google and discovered someone else was already doing it?
So next time you realise your brilliant idea has already been thought of, (I realise this very topic has probably already been taken too perhaps but not in my words as I am unique, after all) check out what’s already out there, make notes on the key points and brilliant extras you find there, absorb them and then sleep on it! If you wake up the next day, still interested in pursuing this topic for the time being, let your clever, inventive mind continue where they left off, improve on what they have already done (don’t we always think we can do something better) and further the advances of that subject. ‘Never compete, create’ said Earl Nightingale. Failing that, contact the person who had the same idea and form a community of like-minded people. Join ’em. You already have a lot in common. Not everyone is interested in advancing the cause of the nether-spotted Gerschluken Flaffen. That is the real beauty of the web. Connections and forming like minded tribes!