Don't Leave it in the Shower . . .

Yup, you read that title right. Don’t leave it in the shower.
Don’t leave what?
Your next great idea that is going to change the world!
Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, once commented, “Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out, dries off, and does something about it who makes a difference.”
And isn’t that why we’re here on this little rock of ours—to make a difference? Well, we can’t “make a difference” if we don’t do anything. Ideas, as the saying goes, are a dime a dozen. It’s easy to critique others as we passively view them. It’s easy to sit back and say what we would do differently or how we would have made something better.
But the problem with that line of thinking is that we are living in the conditional tense—would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. All three of those conditional words imply that while we could have done something, we DIDN’T.
And as another favorite saying of mine goes (from the play Shenandoah), “If we don’t try, then we don’t do. And if we don’t do, then why are we here?”
There are inherent risks in trying something new or different. The most obvious risk is failure. But why is that such a bad thing? Everyone fails at one time or another. Perhaps to varying degrees, but anyone who has ever had the guts to go out and try something new, to do something different, to stand out and make a difference, has failed or not quite reached their goals. But when we shoot for the stars and instead hit the moon, look at the progress we made and the heights we attained.
Why sit on the sideline and act as if life is a spectator sport? If we play it safe and never try, then you’re right, we won’t feel disappointment or rejection. But we’ll also never feel the exhilaration of success, the satisfaction and inner peace of accomplishment, and the fulfillment of helping others and actually making a difference.
The old basketball cliche is true—you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. That means the more shots we take, the more times we’ll miss. Conversely, by taking those shots we also set ourselves up for more success. Michael Jordan is credited with saying, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. AND THAT’S WHY I SUCCEED!”
When I was growing up I had two ideas that I facetiously regret not acting upon.
The first was this grand idea I had in the 9th grade for a fast food Italian restaurant. There was nothing like it around in Utah—though I later found out that there were these types of restaurants back East. I even drew up the layout of the restaurant with a friend. A great “shower” idea. But I left it there. A few years later out comes Fazolis, the Italian fast food restaurant.
The second ingenious thought popped into my head while at the dinner table as an elementary student. I was fed up with having to spread butter on my rice, so I said I was going to invent butter you could spray. Well, obviously spray butter is a common grocery store item now—but it wasn’t back then, at least not in Utah or in my home. My family and I often joke that I should have been the inventor of the spray butter.
Should have.
But I didn’t. I left it in the “shower.”
So the next time you have an idea or prompting, act on it. Do something about it. Don’t leave it in the shower.
Dare to make a difference!

Alex Stoddard

Alex Stoddard is the President and CEO of CS Music and Classical Singer magazine. Since 2003 Alex has been involved heavily with CS in advertising sales, the CS Vocal Competition, the CS Convention, and the development of the website Alex graduated with a B.A. from Brigham Young University and a M.S. from Utah State University. He currently lives in Lehi, UT with his wife Becky and their 6 children and is a high school basketball coach on the side.