What Einstein came up with was under his (and everyone else’s) nose. Historians will record that virtually no idea is original and that the impulse to truth is universal. So how does your Great Idea get to be a big deal in your lifetime?

Ask yourself, what do you sense? What sort of inklings do you have? What wakes you up? What do you keep coming back to? Whatever it is, it may be your great idea.

Triadic factors

Triadic thinking (one of my Great Ideas) suggests you name that idea and then ask if it dances. How flexible is it? Can it survive the slings and arrows that will come?

Can you wait years before anyone even gives it the time of day? That’s the tolerance question.

There are two more things to ask.

Is your great idea helpful? Will it help anyone? Does it give a hand up? Convenience, pleasure, meaning, satisfaction? Does it teach you anything? Does it help you accomplish anything? For example, could it save you time or money or even your relationships?


The third question may confuse you. Why should your great idea be democratic? Couldn’t it be Machiavellian, power-hungry, a rough and tumble winner and let the devil take the hindmost?

Well, the answer is that, like tolerance and helpfulness, democracy is baked into reality. It is universal. It is related to freedom which is the power to choose.

When democracy does not exist – that is rights for all and a government of fair laws – the result is suffering. That Machiavelli drill may have worked in the past but its day is drawing to a close.

So your great idea must theoretically be appealing to everyone on the planet.


Your great idea needs just a few more things to qualify as a possible winner.

Persistence is the first thing. If you have answered the questions above, you are on your way but only persistence will enable you to deal with the inevitable. The inevitable includes being ignored, being corrected, and having your confidence ripped to shreds.

Do not downsize your dream. Transcend being ignored and keep at it.

Accept things that genuinely improve and correct your thinking. Every theory and idea is fallible but great ideas win by accepting things that happen to be true. That’s what correction is about.


If you are genuinely confident that the world requires your idea to make real progress, you have all you need to persist and prevail.

A final word about scale. You need to have a clear idea of reach and scale. Are you aiming for a small community? A city, a world? Your great idea should be reproducible. But your scale is your own realistic understanding of what your limits will be. Who knows? What you do for your family and friends could be tomorrow’s great idea come true?