How to Break Free from the Chains of Your Big Idea (or, the power of going small)

If I had a dime for every brilliant, visionary idea that would serve humanity and make me a bundle of dough, so the saying goes. I bet you've had your share of the same. 

Ideas we have. Solutions, no problem. It's the next thing that trips us up: Doing something about it. 

It's an awful trick our brains play on us. We get a beam of insight and before we get a chance to play with the little idea our brains go to work growing the idea into a 2-ton gorilla. What happened to stopping to play with the little baby monkey first? 

When we put our attention on the big gorilla we become overwhelmed by what we think it will take to get there. We forget that everything starts small. And then we shut down. We stay in the idea stage, forever. 

But by staying small you have a chance. Your brain can grasp small projects, little steps, a short path forward. That means, keep your idea a baby monkey, small and playful, as long as you can.

In Lean Methodology, we call it the MVP, or Minimum Viable Product. It can also stand for Minimum Viable Service or Experience. 

It's basically the method of starting small. 

I like to translate it into a science experiment. Treat your business idea like an experiment. Pare it down to its most essential elements and test it out with the raw curiosity of a scientist. 

As a scientist, you're always curious. 
As a scientist, there is no failure. It's data. 
As a scientist, you use that data to make your next experiment more precise to get the results you're looking for. 

And on and on it goes. Someday, with enough applied data and iteration, your baby monkey might grow into a 2-ton gorilla - but for now, enjoy the early days of playfulness, experimentation, funny bumbles and silly mishaps. 

(Disclaimer: I know that gorillas and monkeys aren't related and monkeys doesn't actually grow into gorillas. But baby gorillas are still big. And I'm talking about small here. So monkeys it is.)