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Learn the key ideas of the book by Richie Norton

The Power of Starting Something Stupid

Learning not to let other people’s judgement hold you back

In his book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, Richie Norton presents a formula that is as paradoxical as it is true: believing in the power of stupid ideas is a new form of intelligence. With a series of illustrious examples, from Henry Ford to Gandhi, the author shows us a new perspective on enterprise, driven by overcoming social preconceptions, and self-imposed restrictions. Thus emerges a motivating analysis on how to follow our dreams, beginning with a simple step: getting started. 

The Power of Starting Something Stupid
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Embracing the New Smart way, meaning the power to start something new, however stupid it might seem

Accepting events we cannot control during our life symbolises a step that can lead to the kind of deeper awareness necessary for achieving profound satisfaction and success.

Richie Norton experienced this timeless lesson first-hand, first with the tragic death of a son and later as a business coach for world-renowned CEOs. The result of his experiences and his research has led him to formulate a new approach to life, which is applicable both in our work and private lives, namely “Live to start. Start to live." Don't wait to start something new. His teachings can be useful in helping us to find our motivation, or even that small dose of naivety that has the power to change our lives. Finally, this approach can help us understand the ruthlessness of the passage of time, and its influence on whether or not we pursue our dreams.

As Parkinson's law teaches us, the more time you have, the more you tend to waste. However, to really pursue your dreams or to carry out big projects in life, you must find a way to give voice to your inner light, your passions and your ideas, no matter how stupid they may seem. Often, in fact, they are perceived as such only because of the fear filter (of lack of control, the unknown, the new or the judgment of others), anxiety, and false beliefs. However, history teaches us that these same fears were present at the creation of some of the most revolutionary and successful inventions, from the car to the telephone, seen in the beginning as worthless or useless ideas, for which their proponents had to fight against everything and everyone to bring them to fruition.

A distinction must therefore be made between the stupid and useless, versus the stupid as a product of the unconventional. This second type of stupidity must thus be considered as a positive influence, according to Norton, even to the extent of defining it as the "New Smart". The New Smart is a test on the world, it is the discovery of meaning, it is the creation of value and the desire for change.

To let go and embrace this philosophy, you need to find the capacity, deep down, to overcome fear and put complete reliance on your innate sensitivity and sense of direction. In fact, while it is widely believed that pure enthusiasm is the key to the success of a business idea, or to the realisation of a dream, this is not enough. Far too often people are deeply moved and passionate when they talk about their dreams, but in the end, they don’t fulfill them! The truth is, that realising your dreams begins with the total conviction and courage to set out on a path whose ending we cannot yet see.


The key ideas of "The Power of Starting Something Stupid"

Embracing the New Smart way, meaning the power to start something new, however stupid it might seem
The busy-ness trap and becoming aware of the present moment
The TEM Gap: the bias of not having enough time, knowledge, and financial resources
The Stupid Loop, the balance between creativity and imperfection
Dividing ideas into small projects and allowing ourselves to be led from one to another
How to make things happen and bring about the change of perspective required to achieve success
Coming out of your shell is the first challenge to overcome in order to achieve success
Cultivating authenticity is key to putting yourself in the game
START: opening ourselves to the world with the 5 New Smart actions
Use the resources available to make your dreams come true
Take-home message
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