I love new ideas.
They are like catnip for my soul. As a movie producer I have no shortage of people pitching me story ideas. Some of them are quite interesting. I want to pursue more of them than I should.
I needed to create some sort of system to help me determine when a new idea is worth investing my time and resources. From that came these five questions I ask myself almost everyday.
Five questions to ask when you encounter a new idea:
1. Is this new idea consistent with my life mission?
The older I get, the more clear my purpose becomes. I want to partner with others to tell stories that spark hope in the world. Some new ideas sound fun or profitable, but they don't help me get there. I may still indulge in a new idea that is "off mission," but with the realization that it probably won't last when more integrated ideas come around. Off-mission ideas are the conceptional equivalent of a one-night stand.
2. Can this new idea be absorbed into a current idea?
Some new ideas fit perfectly into something I am already doing or dreaming about. If a new idea fits into a current idea it jumps way up the list of possibilities for me. At that point it is less of a new idea and more of an answer to a question I didn't even know to be asking.
3. Will I be frustrated if this idea is wildly successful?
I have learned to say no to new ideas that only seem interesting if they aren't successful. For instance, I recently turned down an audition for a series regular role on a TV series. (I'm also an actor.) I would have gladly read for a guest starring role in this show, but if I had actually landed a series regular role it would have disrupted everything good in my life now. It would have been a massive distraction. Ten years ago it would have been my dream job... I had to remind myself that it's not the main thing I want to do anymore.
4. Who do I know who could better serve this idea than me?
I used to think, "Who do I know who can help me do this idea?"
Now I think more about gifting the idea to someone who can bring it to life with or without my help. Usually both of us end up a lot happier this way.
5. Will I regret not following this idea?
The projection of a future state of regret is a defining factor in how I make decisions. It is a problem if I look into my future and know that I will constantly be asking, "Why didn't I pursue that idea?" When it comes to my creative and professional life, I'd pick regretting doing something over regretting doing nothing every single time.