When I say ‘idea’ I don’t mean a creative solution. I mean a thought or an imagination or an ideology or a principle. These ideas could also be in the form of a concept, theory, philosophy, person, or any entity.
I would use a term ‘Idea Trap’ for the wrongly understood ideas that prove counterproductive. Idea traps are like mirages that make you head in wrong direction. They are fantasies. Illusions. They are half truth.Example: Consider an idea ‘Work hard enough and you will succeed’. The idea looks perfect. An ideal quote to be put on the flaps of the prism shaped calendar on your office table. Raju reads it. He also reads about Dr. Kalam/ Sachin Tendulkar, hard work and success. And he forms an idea ‘Work hard enough and you will succeed’. He devotes himself to this idea completely and works hard, very hard. He acts like Boxer (the horse) from George Orwell's Animal Farm whose answer to every problem, every setback, was ‘I will work harder!’But what he does not understand is that ‘The common belief that everyone can do anything if they just try hard enough is a formula for inefficiency at best and for complete failure at worst.’ It’s not always about capability. It’s often also about suitability.
Here are some of the traps:
1. Personality trap: Whatever my papa/guru/teacher speaks is always correct. Chanakya was the best person and only his way of managing is right way. Marketing ends after Peter F Druker.
2. Theory trap: Everything depends upon the genes/ kundali/ vastu/systems thinking/ marketing/ design thinking/ science/ blue ocean strategy/ game theory etc. Everything is written. No one can change his destiny. Or man writes his own destiny.
3. Memory trap: Memory trap is the result of unwise extrapolation of memories or generalization of a rare event. He helped me – He is a nice guy- He will never do wrong with anybody (and viceversa). ‘This always happens to me. I fail at the last moment’. ‘Whenever I don’t listen to my mom things go wrong’.
4. Religion or philosophy trap: The religious text of a particular religion being supreme. Meditation is everything. Karma is everything. Osho's philosophy is the best. etc.
5. Imagination trap: You imagine the future and consider that it will be as per your calculation. You believe the idea that you have is the next Facebook the victim thinks he is the next Zukerberg. Most start-ups are victim to this, wrong investments occur due to imagination trap.
The victims of idea trap might not talk about above beliefs clearly because they don’t want to sound ‘closed minded’ but deep within they hold these ideas so close to their eyes that they can’t see anything else but the idea. Just like the famous jargon Marketing Myopia. They see everything in the light of that idea. They are possessed by it. They are prone to the idea trap and they don’t accept it, because they don’t realize it.
One of the most common idea trap is a regular phenomenon amongst teenagers. It is ‘Infatuation’. First infatuation is often mistaken for love. So is the case with the second one. It is only after being shattered twice or thrice Raju understands what is it truly. He has been through the trap during his schools and then college and now he knows when it is a trap.
The ideal tool to get out of the trap is ‘awareness’. The moment you are aware the trap vanishes. First you got to realize there exists such traps and that you have been through such traps and it is a regular phenomenon. To avoid an Idea trap you need to be ‘aware & alert’.
I would say if ‘Ideas’ are ‘software’ then ‘Idea Traps’ are ‘malwares’. Only when you are aware and accept that you can be a victim of malware, you will be alert to scan for them.
For those who have seen the movie ‘Inception’, the idea (malware) is installed in the mind by entering into dreams and creating the situation so that the victim finally thinks that it is his own idea and destroys himself. To be alert during the dream every conspirator has a tool to indicate if he is in dream or a real world. That tool is the tool that keeps you away from idea traps. Find out a way to know if you are into an idea trap or not.
The people who want to get their friends out of some idea trap (analogy- charming girl and infatuation) must not negate the malware directly. The victim will not accept it. He is blind. He is in love (read infatuation) with the idea. A better way to help your friend would be to take lessons from Inception and make some arrangements by which in very subtle way you install a new idea in the mind of the victim and he starts accepting it as his ‘own’ idea. Present to him another ‘charming girl’ who again infatuates him and if he accepts the new idea (new girl) he will lose focus from the malware (past girl) and slowly after some introspection he will realize that it was infatuation in both the cases. The charming girl could be some book or movie or personality or philosophy a new idea/ concept. The two ideas should be mutually exclusive e.g Raju’s malware is ‘hard work pays’ so you install a totally different yet not opposite software ‘Chanakya’s management’.
Hope you liked the idea of ‘Idea Trap’!
This was originally posted on my blog VINSOMES