Good Ideas Don’t Always Win, But Please Keep Having Them

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on March 13, 2014


My musician friend, Roman Morykit, posted a link on his Facebook to an article on privacy this week.  He asked for friends to comment about someone’s very smart idea:  A ‘Do Not Track’ list for consumers, something along the lines of the ‘Do Not Call” list that Congre

ss did make possible some years ago.  You can read the details of the idea here.

That got me thinking about it.  And what I think is that it is brilliant in its simplicity and scope, and really ought to happen.  So here we have an example of a good idea, except for one small problem. Just like the Congress that made the ‘Do Not Call’ list happen, this Congress would have to act.  And of all the difficult challenges we face in these strange days, getting this Congress to act in a generally helpful way is way up on that list.

We know this is how it is now, right?   As a generalization, (meaning I know there are a few counter examples) our Congress doesn’t act. For the most part, the political class in Congress puts on an act. All the while, the patterns in place progress, and the bad problems (those with long term consequences) get worse as the citizenry fixates on whatever is distracting or frightening.  Who can blame the people for their seeming disinterest in their own governance?  So many problems.  So little collective will to solve them, even when solutions are within reach and are in our own interest.   The fact is, good ideas don’t always win.

When I consider the polarized pitiful state of Congress and the nation at large, I shake my head and think of how the mighty

have fallen. For a time there, it seemed something better was imminent. Now I listen to our cultural narrative, and watch our so-called leaders, and think that I’m simply observing

…a tale
told by an idiot,
full of sound and fury
signifying nothing.

I find some measure of comfort in knowing that the universe knows what it’s doing, whether I know what the universe is doing or not.  But the fact is, a good idea may not happen, whether it’s DO NOT TRACK or anything else, at least for some time, because there is a substantial barrier in the way of making it happen.

But it might happen.  And most good ideas happened exactly like that.  They went from might to mighty.  Because a truly good idea is a mighty thing.  I know this.  I’ve seen the truth of it my whole life.  And some of them do happen.  And whenever one of them does happen, there’s a good chance that it’s because people kept having good ideas even when they had no chance to win.  They somehow knew that the worst idea is that no idea is an acceptable substitute for a good idea.

I say that if you’ve got a good idea, a way to make something better that really could work, don’t give it up without considering the world if your good idea never happens at all.  See a future that you’re not in, and perhaps you’ll realize the important role you’re playing even now.   Sometimes, life requires us to hunker down, find something else to do that matters, and generally accept things the way they are for now.

I have good people all around me, having and acting on good ideas.  I’m watching them, learning from them, and when I can, making myself useful to them.  That’s what I’m doing as an alternative to disappointment around a number of my own good ideas.

How about you?   Your comments are welcome.

Be well,


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