Would You Kill Your “Precious”?

by | Process

Anyone who has seen the Lord Of The Rings trilogy (or preferably read the  books!) will find it impossible to hear the word “precious” and not associate the image of Gollum slinking through caverns hissing about his love for his ring, or as he calls it “Myyyyyy Precious…..”

Creepy? Sure. The ring has such an intense hold on Gollum that his entire life had become about preserving and protecting it. It is unimaginable what he would do (and did!) to maintain possession of it. There is no end to his obsession.

I’ve met many creatives who are passionate about their ideas. they live, eat and breathe possibility. Most of the people I meet don’t struggle for new ideas, and they don’t struggle for a desire to make great things. However, they do struggle with knowing when it’s time to kill their Precious. I’m often one of them.

Several years ago I had an idea. A great idea. It involved making significant changes to the organization I was leading, and it seemed like the right idea at the right time. And…it failed. No problem, except that I couldn’t let it go. I was still obsessed with making it work. It haunted the rest of my work, and significantly affected my ability to lead and generate new ideas. It also affected a lot of other people, including my family. I simply couldn’t kill my Precious.

I learned a valuable lesson: innovation is frequently as much (or more) about what you say no to than what you say yes to. We often need to eliminate the good in order to get to the great. We need to get really good at pruning so that we have free and clear space to focus on our most important work.

Question: have you experienced a time in your life when you inability to kill your Precious prevented you from moving forward, or are you currently struggling to let go of something in order to move on? Prune relentlessly!

Don’t allow ego, your obsession with getting it right, or sunk cost to prevent you from shedding unnecessary weight.

Todd Henry

Todd Henry

Positioning himself as an “arms dealer for the creative revolution”, Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of five books (The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words, Herding Tigers, The Motivation Code) which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership, and passion for work.

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