Stop Underestimating Your Great Ideas

UPDATED: August 8, 2017
PUBLISHED: June 6, 2016

A few years ago, I sat on the beach by my parents’ house in Florida with my two daughters and my sister-in-law. We started discussing a dream I had about a 14-year-old girl who found herself caught between the “real world on earth” and the “heavenly world above.”

My daughters asked me questions and my sister-in-law said, “This would make a great book.” My daughter, Sawyer, ran into the house to grab a pen and paper. We sat on the beach for two hours, spinning ideas off each other, furiously scribbling things down. When I left the beach I was determined to write that book with my daughter. We even finished the first chapter that day.

That was two years ago. We haven’t written anything since. I have every intention of writing the book yet can’t seem to find the time. The reality of my day-to-day life running a business, working as a CNN commentator, being a wife and having three kids has forced me to put this project on the back burner.

I read an article in The New York Times about Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s theory on creativity. She discusses the “agency of ideas,” a concept that ideas have a will and mind of their own, and if you don’t act on your own creativity, it will move on to someone else.

We’ve all thought of something to say in a meeting but then talk ourselves out of it, and boom—our colleague says it. You may feel angry that somebody stole your idea, or you may beat yourself up for not saying it first. It never occurred to me that maybe the idea has a power of its own. Think about it: Your ideas have chosen you, and they are counting on you to trust your greatness and do the work. But they will not wait forever.

Countless entrepreneurs, artists and inventors hoard their ideas out of fear that someone might steal them. They sit on them (as I am with my book) until they feel ready to work or have the time.

Related: 4 Ways to Find Time to Do What You Love

Gilbert’s notion of creativity changed my mindset. If the idea keeps recurring, it’s not because you are a creative genius—it’s because you are the chosen messenger.

Instead of struggling with procrastination, embrace your role as the chosen one.

We all know someone is going to write the next Harry Potter series. What if you are the chosen one?

Someone is going to invent the next Facebook. What if you are the chosen one?

Someone is going to create a painting that looks just like the one you can’t stop thinking about. What if you are the chosen one?

There is greatness inside you. That’s why your ideas picked you. The only question is: Are you willing to see yourself as the chosen one?

Related: 15 Success Books to Inspire Your Next Big Idea


This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Mel Robbins is a contributing editor to SUCCESS magazine, best-selling author, CNN commentator, creator of the “5 Second Rule” and the busiest female motivational speaker in the world. To find out more, visit her website: To follow her on Twitter: