What is the one thing you can do that costs you no money, and will significantly improve your chances for success?
Imagine you're chasing a beam of light. That's what Albert Einstein did when he was 16 years old. This thought played a significant part in developing his special theory of relativity.
As an entrepreneur, you have at your fingertips, a potent type of knowledge: the essence of your idea and of what it can achieve.
For innovative ideas, this is the most powerful knowledge you can have. That is because, by their nature, innovative ideas cannot rely on experience for knowledge. The more innovative your idea, the less you can use prior knowledge.
Based on this type of knowledge – the essence of your idea – you can create thought experiments.
A thought experiment may sound complicated, and they can be if you don't strip your idea down to its essentials. You need to rely on as few moving parts as possible, no more than three is a good rule of thumb.
In a thought experiment, you take a hypothesis - your idea - and using the given context of knowledge (theories, principles, data), you think it through to its consequences.
Thought experiments could help you see into the future, without investing resources in testing your experiments in the real world.
Here are some thought experiments to get you started:
- You are a year into the future, and your idea failed. What do you think caused its failure? (Imagine you are competing with others, for a $1 million prize, given to the one who first finds all of the causes.)
- You have sold your successful idea, and the buyer tricked you in some way. You feel wronged and angry. You decide to compete with the buyer - with your original idea. What would you do to become better and more successful than the buyer - how can you best your original idea?
- You only have one week (or even one day) to implement your idea. What would you do?
Thought experiments would provide you with new insights and surprising results.