Three Reasons Good Ideas are Like Kidney Stones

I’d been going through what was possibly among the most difficult days of my life, or so I thought, as I cringed in pain on my bed the other night. My kidney stones have recurred. And kidney stones are something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. The pain doesn’t go away. Actually it eventually does, but I can’t guarantee it won’t be without bloodshed. Seriously.

And so after a visit to the doctor, a few pills prescribed, and much liquid intake, I’m optimistic this will all come to pass (pun intended) soon. Otherwise, I might have to face surgery, which is something most people would dread.

Note that when the doc says to take it before bedtime, make sure you do, unless you want to be a groggy slobbering mess all day, like I probably am right now. And then the fun of it all is that I’ve started to think of great ideas as like kidney stones. Let me outline the reasons.

First, like any ideas, good or bad, great ideas can just come out on their own. Your conscious mind might not know it, but your creative genius could have been creating masterpieces right under your nose. It could be a great business idea. Or it could be a really useful web app. Or that link-worthy blog post. Or yet another reinvention of the wheel. It has happened. Most of my most active blog posts (traffic, discussions and links) were those written on a whim–on topics that I didn’t really think were very serious.

Stones can pass out on their own, too. They probably have free will of their own. So can ideas.

Some great ideas, though, could use a little nudge before you can fully harness them. Sometimes you need inspiration. But most of the time, you need to put up with some perspiration. You have to really look deep to see what great things you can come up with if you put your mind to it. Maybe you’re creating a new plugin or some new software, but you keep facing roadblocks in development. Maybe you’re writing a feature article, and you get writer’s block. Perhaps you just need a little nudge toward the right direction and you’ll be on your way fine.

Some stones are probably stuck somewhere inside your body, but are still small enough to pass. But with some medication, lots of water and a bit of faith, these will run their course and leave your system when the time is right.

However, some ideas aren’t as easy to come around. Maybe you do have great things in mind. But some of these might require vast amount of resources to execute. Perhaps you need VC funding. Maybe you need to buy tons of equipment and hardware to execute it. You might even need to hire a handful of people to help you with conceptualizing, developing, designing, marketing, and whatnot, just so your project would get on its way, and your ideas would reach fruition.

Sometimes kidney stones are just too big to pass naturally. You need more than a nudge. You need to have them crushed into millions of little pieces. Laser usually works. So do shock-waves. But the worst case scenario is that the doctor would have to slice you up, open up your kidneys from the outside, and then pull out the offending build-up of calcium, struvite or whatever it is that makes up those darn stones.

At the height of blogger’s block, I often feel like I want someone to crack open my skull and extract ideas directly from my brain so I can start writing about these.

This is probably a crazy analogy. I think my meds are getting to my head.

5 thoughts on “Three Reasons Good Ideas are Like Kidney Stones

  1. Great analogy!

    I think it is easy to create a long list of business, product, or blog topic ideas. The problem is figuring out how to evaluate the ideas. This generally means coming up with some sort of objective criteria and then judging the ideas against the criteria. This may sound simple, but it is easy to bias your evaluation because you have pet ideas that you really love. It is best if you can enlist the help of somebody you trust to remain objective. It may turn out that none of your ideas are good which may be as painful as passing a kidney stone!

  2. Your analogy of the Kidney Stone is quite unique. However there are some of us who realize or stumble upon an idea when we least expect it. As an example, when we are driving down the road and something on the radio or perhaps even something as simple as a road sign, sparks an idea. Then it hits us like a ton of bricks and we end up thinking to ourselves, “why didn’t I think of that before!” Fortunately these realizations are not as painful and much faster than passing a kidney stone….

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