Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Collected Wisdom: 25 Bits of Advice on Making Ideas Happen

When we asked our followers @99U to share the best advice they’d ever received on making ideas happen, the response to #99advice was overwhelming. Below, find 25 snippets of collective wisdom on taking action, overcoming failure, embracing the unknown, and more.“Start where you are with what you have.” – @aCeramicArtist

“Stop. Every now and then, just stop—take a walk if you need to—the ideas will come when you stop thinking about it.” – @michaelcalleia


“Share your idea; involve others; celebrate often.” – @StuGoulden


“Your story will probably end up looking nothing like you thought it would. Embrace it.” – @DisneyPixar via @Ketsi_alita_n


“Write your idea down and you’ve already begun.” – @HollyJaded


“More time [to decide] without more information just creates anxiety, not insight.” – Seth Godin via @innoventionguy


“Fail fast. It takes many failed ideas to find a winner. Don’t become attached to an idea if it is not working.” – @jamesjay


“There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’, there is only ‘make.'” – @classen_chris


“Turn off Twitter.” – @jeremymeyers


“Stop pretending you don’t have what it takes. Start from where you stand, not from where you’ve stood.” – @Fr33c455


“Don’t sit and stare at an empty page. Just write. Whatever comes to mind. Write anything, and fix it later.” – @markwmoloney


“Set small, achievable steps towards measurable, concrete goals.” – @bronwynmcbride


“Do what you do, then surround yourself with people who can do what you can’t.” – @jasonltilley


“Ideas and thinking happen on an armchair, but doing happens on your feet.” – @dodiyeah


“Perfect is the enemy of done.” – @julierainey


“The power of accountability comes from your community… accountability to your own idea is greatly amplified when you go public.” – @kylelafontaine


“Don’t expect your idea to stay the same. Let it evolve, that’s how you make it better.” – @JaneAndPhilbert


“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” – Baruch Spinoza via @Matt_Cartagena


“Learning to accept and embrace uncertainty is the key to creative pursuits.” – @jamiesonetc


“Start with the simplest form of the idea. Make that function perfectly, then build from there.” – @SilasGodfrey


“Under-promise and over-deliver. Every time.” – @imaccami


“Everyone has ideas. It’s the few that act on them that are worth listening to.” – @bobonawave

Over To You

What’s the best advice on making ideas happen that you’ve ever received?

More insights on: Creative Blocks, Failure, Iteration

Todd Anderson

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Todd Anderson is an editorial assistant for 99U. He is also an NYC-based performance poet and the producer of the Poetry Observed video series.
load comments (25)
  • Kamron Rudisill

    This is fantastic. The perfect post for a Monday morning.

  • Matthew

    These are all excellent.

  • Alfons Scholing

    Don’t they sound familiar?

  • Revitalcoach

    Don’t dream it… Be it./

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show

  • RapidSSL

    All are Good Holds, Might sounds like encouragement. Thanks for sharing..! 

  • Gemma Regalado

    Thanks for posting my tweet here : ) All excellent advice, especially loving 
    “Your story will probably end up looking nothing like you thought it would. Embrace it.” – @DisneyPixar via @Ketsi_alita_n:disqus 

    Sexy and very true.

  • Stanley Ann M

     Find the passion.
    1.Find the passion. 
    2. Form the intention.3. Visualise the
    process and the outcome

    4. Commit to the first step.

    5. Commit to the first fifteen minutes.

    6. Give yourself permission to walk away

    Play. Make no effort.

  • Richard Taylor

    If you are stuck, determine the smallest effort you can make toward your goal and then do it. Repeat.

  • essay writing service

    good words!

  • erinolan

    A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow

  • Brad Harris

    Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.

    -David Starr

  • Brad Harris

    Jackson Pollock did not know what his next painting was going to look like, but he knew precisely what he was going to do in the studio the next day.

    –Chuck Close

  • AZIceberg

    Faith – going to the edge of what you know and taking one more step.

  • Mike Wagner

    “There is no such thing as character. All there is – is perpetual action.” David Mamet on what he believes about character development as a playwright.

  • MoveForwardSocial

    Plan while act. Think while changing!

  • Mike Wagner

    Thought of another one from having watched Band of Brothers several times: “Fire and maneuver.”

  • Pedant

    Churchill never actually said “success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm,” even though it’s commonly attributed to him.

  • Srogers

    Best one I’ve heard recently, from a police department candidate for a peer support position, “We are constantly seeking temporary solutions to permanent problems.” So insightful that it left me speechless!

  • Rolf

    “Try? There is no try! There’s only do, or not do”
    (Yoda, in the Empire Strikes back)

  • Cloud Stock Music

    The best I’ve ever heard from one of the best speakers, Jim Rohn… “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better”


  • ShutterMouse Studios

    “Every idea you have is brilliant.” Based on the idea that we don’t need people to tell us our ideas our garbage – we do it to ourselves. Everything is valid, until it’s time to make the short list, Then you can be picky.

  • Grigaitis

    “You can do whatever you want!” And I believed him. @linagrigaitis

  • silverlight

    make whatever your art form is a daily practice…do it every day…even if are not yourself without it!

  • sdfs


  • Gamzee

    I’d rather be a used up Hasbeen, than a Neverwas.

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