How-to Quotes

Idea or Ideal? How-to Know the Difference

“The sliced loaf becomes a kind of small, edible promise of a better world.”

– Aaron Bobrow-Strain.

The world is an ever-changing amalgamation of people, ideas, and industries. No matter the era, this will be guaranteed. Without ideas, there would be no creation, but without ideals, progress would be slow and uninspired productions of the busy mind that lead to uninventive results. Many years of my life were spent assuming that these two words had almost if not exactly the same meaning but in my adult years, I’ve come to understand the distinct separation of the terms. This separation makes all of the difference when pairing ideas and ideals to produce an actionable concept.

The concept of an idea is simple; a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action. Ideas are produced spontaneously and by nature can not be edited only reinvented as new ideas. This is a good and bad thing. An idea is the most reasonable starting point for any concept because it sets in motion the process of executing an actionable plan towards a short or long term objective.

The best way to come up with a good idea is to capture every single one of them!

Now I understand this is an unreasonable expectation (hell, I have a hundred ideas a day). Therefore, I have one simple suggestion. No matter the situation, make an effort to record as many ideas as you can. This will actively commit them to your memory and if you need inspiration or reference at a later point, these ideas will be available for your use.

Now you may want to understand why just the idea isn’t enough to produce an innovative and inventive concept. Here is why!

An ideal is simply a person or thing regarded as perfect.

I’ve got advice for anyone looking to create an awesome concept. Aim for the ceiling and when you hit the ceiling, tear a hole in it. If perfection isn’t your goal, you are in the wrong business. While perfection is inherently unattainable, the innovators of the world must strive for it to produce the ideal.

Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, United States, invented the first loaf at a time bread slicing machine. The prototype, produced in 1912, was destroyed in a fire and it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine ready. After thousands of years of producing and processing bread in whole loaf form, one man was able to change the entire industry of bread. As simple as the concept of pre-sliced bread may sound, the process involved in reaching this ideal was a long and arduous one.

This goes to show that no matter how many times an idea is reinvented, there will constantly be a new ceiling for the “ideal”. It’s simply up to you to discover it.


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