Have you had a great idea rejected because it was too novel? Have you rejected an idea because you it didn’t fit into your way of thinking? The chances are that you will be able to answer “yes” to both of these questions. A short time ago, I was given a challenge. Dawn Brewer asked me to write about the concept that “New ideas always get rejected”.
It got me thinking! Personally, I don’t like the idea of “always” so I have changed the topic to “Why new ideas often get rejected“. I also believe that we cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves and sometimes when we change our own thinking and behaviour it has positive influence on others.
Why you reject your own new ideas
It is very easy to blame other people for not accepting your idea, but have you thought how many of your own ideas you are rejecting? Our brain processes a tremendous amount of information. In order for us to make sense of the world we learn to create patterns and filter out information. We create rules for ourselves. Once we have learnt a set of rules on a conscious level we move to our subconscious.
Think about when you learnt to drive. Can you remember how many things you had to think about? How did it feel? Now think of the last time you drove. Were you conscious of any of these things or did you just get into the car and drive?
Patterns and generalisations can be helpful. Imagine if you had to learn the names of everything, every day when you woke up. It is said that out of the 80,000 thoughts we have each day, 60,000 are exactly the same as yesterday. The problem is once we have a pattern it is hard to break out of it. When a new idea pops into our head, what do we do? We evaluate it with how it fits in with our map of reality. If the idea is too different we filter it out and ignore it. Often the idea has to pop our head several times before we pay attention to it. Only once it starts becoming familiar to us as a new idea, do we recognise it.
So how do you use this, when you are trying to get a new idea across to someone else? Repeated exposure of a new idea makes it more familiar and more acceptable, so don’t give up if the idea is rejected at first, it might just be too new.
How adaptable are you to change?
It is easy to think you are adaptable to change, but how often do you make big changes in your life? Some people make changes all the time, they might forever be changing jobs, buying new gadgets or changing their wardrobe or their home environment. Other people live in the same neighbourhood they grew up in or have been in the same job for over a decade. The word “New” is exciting for some people and scary for others.
If you look at the graph below which is Rogers Diffusion of Innovation Model, you will see only a small percentage of people will be quick to adopt something new. Where would you put yourself? It may be different for different areas in your life.
So how can you use this? There are a small percentage of the population who will make changes incredibly fast; using words, like new and innovative will be motivating for them. If the person you are selling your idea to is one of these people, you should tell them how different your idea is from anything else.
However, the majority of people are slower at making changes. What works better for most people is telling them how your idea is the same as something they already know, but better. Comparing your idea with concept that they already know will reassure them before explaining how your idea is an improvement.
When are you receptive to new ideas?
If you think about when you are more likely to accept someone else’s ideas, you will probably find it was when you are relaxed and feel unthreatened. When you present your ideas to others, are they always in the best possible state to be receptive to hearing them? Put yourself in their shoes. When would be the best time to speak to them and what would you need to say?
Where do great ideas come from?
When I was thinking about this topic, I came across this great video and I thought I would share it with you.
Why do you think that new ideas get rejected and do you have some helpful hints to help other people get their idea accepted? I would love you to leave your comments below.