Friday, October 6, 2017

The Great Rule of Foresight

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

— Linus Pauling

Most ventures, products and ads fail. Mind-blindness, tone-deafness and overoptimism are the chief reasons why.

Nothing's fail-proof, but you can look positively clairvoyant—especially when no one's sure which direction to take—by presenting lots of ideas.

When asked, for example, to name a new product, create a campaign, or write a major headline, I strive to present clients at least 10 ideas.

I try not to fall in love with any one, but to think of all as straws in the wind.

"Throw straws in the air to test the wind," said the 17th century Jesuit Baltasar Gracian.

"By finding out how things will be perceived—especially from those whose reception or success is doubtful—you can determine a great deal about their chances of turning out well, and decide whether you should proceed in earnest or withdraw entirely.

"By trying people’s intentions in this way, the wise person knows on what ground he stands. This is the great rule of foresight in asking, in desiring, and in ruling."
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