April 27

Everyone struggles at times to see both the strengths and weaknesses of their own work. You get so excited about an idea that you simply cannot see its potential downsides. There is certainly some benefit to this. A little bit of delusion often enables you to do what’s necessary to tackle a big idea. Otherwise, you might second guess whether the effort is worth it!

However, too much delusion will cause you to fail to see an idea’s downsides. To avoid this, try arguing against your own point of view. Play the role of your biggest critic, and try to tear the idea apart. Look at it from every angle with the sole purpose of proving why it will fa il. Ask these questions:

Why is this too obvious?

Why is this impossible to accomplish?

Who else has tried this and failed?

Who won’t give us the buy-in we need to get started?

Why is this a logistical nightmare?

These are just a few of the kinds of questions you can use to argue against yourself. Pay attention to your answers, because they give you clues about how to strengthen your idea. If you identify some weaknesses, consider how you can circumvent them. If you discover that selling the idea will be challenging, consider how you can alter your messaging.

Arguing against your own idea is a powerful way to make it more resilient.

To strengthen and refine your idea, argue the opposite.

Which of your current ideas would benefit from a little self-critique?

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