I try to avoid food buffets. Loving food and lacking the willpower to limit myself I tend to overeat.
An idea buffet, however, is something I search out.
I just returned from the NSA UnConference, an innovative mid winter meeting for speakers. Two big theme in both programming and hallway discussion were social media and thought leadership.
An aside: thought leadership is conferred rather than claimed. When others are affected by and transmit your ideas, you have some evidence that you’ve provided thought leadership. There are processes for increasing one’s effectiveness at becoming a thought leader, but ultimately the marketplace judges one’s success.
A second aside on social media: there are lots of exciting things happening in this arena. For proof, check out the Facebook page of my friend Steve Spangler. He and his company, Steve Spangler Science, make science fun for everybody. But at the same time, my conclusion is that we are a long way from knowing how social media will play out. The first-movers seems to have entrenched themselves deeply, but then again wasn’t Microsoft pretty entrenched when Google showed up on the scene?
Back to the point: a good seminar, class or conference can be an idea buffet with a wide variety of delectable offerings. You pick and choose what you want to ingest.
At the end of the day (or event), you are faced with the challenge of separating what you can do from what you want to do and what you will do.
So many ideas; so little time.
The most successful don’t just dine at idea buffets; they use the nutrients to create real muscle, and muscle is ultimately developed through use. As Arnold Schwarzenegger reminds us, nobody ever developed muscle watching him lift weights.
At the end of the meal, we sit contentedly (and sometimes excitedly) with the knowledge of what we’ve learned. The work begins when we apply “what we’ve learned”and turn it into “what we’ve done.”
Eat too much, exercise too little and you’ll become idea obese.
So keep up your intake of good ideas; just make sure you use them to build mental muscle that creates results.