Ideas distract

Naveed Ahmad
3 min readOct 15, 2017

Since my childhood I’ve been told a story about “Tariq Bin Ziyad”. I don’t remember the exact story but It was something like this.

Tariq bin Ziyad was a conquerer. He went to conquer some place but he found that the enemy is way more in numbers and his army is tired and there is no way they will win the war. So he burned his ships, when his army saw that they can’t go back they will either have to die or win the war. At this point you might have guessed what happened. Yes! he won the war.

Moral of the story I was told: Since there was no point of return Tariq bin Ziyad’s army had to win the war.

Well there is nothing wrong with this story, that trick worked but as soon as I started getting matured with my profession. I started to believe that the moral of this story is absolutely wrong. Here is my version.

Tariq bin Ziyad had two options, fight the war or return, he decided to reduce his options to one, and that was fight the war so he had to burn his ships.

Lets get back to the real topic. “Ideas Distract”, I went to speak to a conference this weekend and a participant asked me a question. “I can not concentrate on a single project, I start something before finishing one I start another and this goes on as a result I don’t even have a single completed project on my hands. what should I do? how to concentrate?”

That participant asked me a perfect question I myself was like him. I was the man of Ideas, one after another. Soon I learned that its not about the Ideas its about the execution of the ideas. Ideas can’t be perfect but execution can be perfect. Its not about how good your Idea is its about how good you can execute one. Here is my reply.

“That’s because you are the man of Ideas, that’s a sign of intelligence. But you are not a good executioner you can’t get things done because every Idea that gets into your brain seems to be brighter and bigger then the previous one. Your ideas are turning into your options, the options on which you can work and then while you have some previous options open you start creating new options”

So what’s the solution ? don’t think ? don’t come up with the new ideas?. No one can stop thinking or stop ideas its about how to not convert them into the actionable options.

How I do this is pretty simple when I come across another perfect Idea while I am still working on something. I start arguing with my brain, I start convincing my self that closing what I already have started is more important. Here is me arguing with my brain.

my brain: You are going out on a trip, why not work on an app that helps you explore and connect with local people

me: yea brain you are right its a really good idea.

my brain: oh man you can disrupt this so called tourism industry with this app

me: hell yea you are right, but wait what about that social app I am working on.

my brain: yea that was good too but time has changed lets start the new one.

me: may be you are right. may be its a good idea but may be that the app i am working on also good.

my brain: you’ve just spent a couple of week on this you still have time you can switch. lets start working on the new app. May be its a better idea.

me: are you sure? is it really a good idea and what guaranties that you won’t hit me with another one again in a couple of weeks.

my brain: Yea Einstein, that’s what I do I am a brain, I think.

me: Oh yea brain, well I am an executioner and I execute. So calm down and let me work on my project.

Ideas distract you but remember “cookies are for closers”. Don’t let them distract yourself. Feel proud in what you have accomplished not in what you think.