One of the easiest mistakes we make when we dive into the information age and begin to let the ideas roll over us, is that we can easily forget what the point is. What is the point of an idea? Is it to make money? Is it to bring us fame? Is it to solve social ills?
There are many uses for an idea and so there are many reasons to be generous with them. But no matter how hard I try and how ever many times I get distracted from the true focus, I always come back to one answer - people are the mission.
All ideas are exciting and powerful with tremendous potential, but they are worth little until they touch people. What good are Nathaniel Hawethorn's powerful stories, Edgar Allen Poe's haunting poems, or Peter Drucker's practical essays if they do not help someone.
You might ask, "Help them to what?" Sometimes I get caught in a misconception that "help" has to mean something deep and earth-shattering such as bringing someone out of depression, helping save a marriage, or guiding someone into the right career. But making people the mission doesn't have to be that dramatic.
Sometimes being strategically generous with our ideas can produce encouragement on a hard day, resolve in the face of doubt, a smile or even a laugh . . . those things are what pull someone out of the ordinary and into aliveness.
Yes, aliveness - it may or may not be a real word but it captures the feeling that I am trying to explain. Most people live most days without much life in them. They simply survive the responsibility and the ache of dreams unfulfilled, discipline unattained and peace unfound. Our minds may hold a key thought that can release potential, drive, emotion . . . life.