Stop Waiting for the Ripe Idea

Mar 10, 2021

Deciding when to share an idea is a lot like picking fruit.

A farmer can never know for certain how a fruit will taste. They look for any signals they can find of its ripeness — its color, smell, shape, and texture. Their success depends on their ability to do the seemingly impossible: predict how a fruit will taste, without ever tasting it.

How do they do it? They taste and experiment, they try and fail. With each harvest, they cut the growth of crops and feed the growth of skills. The seasons turn in a cycle of learning.

As creators, we try to follow the example of farmers. We tend to our digital garden of ideas, waiting for them to ripen. We nurture, feed, and protect them. Over time, we learn to judge the readiness of ideas the same way we might the ripeness of fruit.

But our judgement grows faster than our taste. We measure the first fruits we produce with the ruler of a farmer who has harvested a thousand crops. When left to run its course, our quickness to judge ourselves leads to our creative demise.

We haven’t tasted enough to know what tastes good, but we police ourselves as though we do. With gritted teeth and anxious anticipation, we brace for the perfect idea: a flawless fruit that will be delivered to us. Some day, somehow, it will appear before us like a revelation.

We stand still, perpetually waiting for the perfectly ripe idea.

Waiting for the ripe idea

But an idea doesn’t need to be perfect in order to be ready.

We often eat fruit that isn’t perfectly ripe. The fruit in the hand today is more filling than the promise of perfection tomorrow. As creators, we mustn’t be so picky that our consumers are left hungry. Let the people eat.

An idea lives to be shared, yet it does not die when we share it. Like fruit, an idea scatters its seeds in the garden of our collective minds. It lives on, enriching the soil and multiplying into the fruits of tomorrow’s ideas.

Stop waiting for the ripe idea. With every moment that passes, the ready ones grow stale.