7 Rules for Making Your Idea a Reality

Your ideas aren’t doing any good if they’re stuck inside your head

Todd Brison
Published in
5 min readDec 5, 2019


Photo: Mengwen Cao/Getty Images

First, let’s address this harsh truth: Your idea is probably not as good as you think it is.

This is not an insult to your intelligence. It is an observation of the creative’s mindset. We adore our ideas. We care for them. We dwell on them. We obsess over them. We know this one idea will change our life forever.

However, the longer you build the idea perfectly in your head, the more ignorant you become to your naivete. That’s because an idea in the real world looks infinitely less sexy than it does in your perfect brain. You can understand the fear: Why risk failure when you can sit in imaginary perfection?

A friend once told me of the novel he wanted to write. I asked why he hadn’t started yet.

“I don’t want to corrupt the purity of this story by rushing it out.”

Sounds reasonable, right? Except he told me that eight years ago. He still has not written chapter one.

I hate when internet people say “just start!” We both know it isn’t that simple.

Over the last two years, I’ve published over 800 posts across Medium, TIME magazine, CNBC, Inc., and other platforms. Some of them are terrible. Some of them are great. The common thread is that all of them started as ideas at one point. Each time, those wild ideas had to be wrestled into reality.

Here are some strategies that continue to help me do just that:

1. Ruin every new idea immediately

The human ego seems to believe that whatever comes out of our mind should be instantly perfect. This is complete fantasy.

Artists in particular have this problem — sorting through vague ideas. There is no blueprint, no map. There is a half-finished cup of coffee and a whim.

I love what Ira Glass says:

“Your taste is why your work disappoints you.”

The sooner you reach that “disappointment” with an idea, the better. Understand that it takes thousands of hours before you will be even a little satisfied with your work. Even then, there are…