The Difference Between “Ideas” and “Opinions”

The world turns on the power of ideas, and yet the social media world seems very often to revolve around shallow opinions.  Apps like Facebook, Twitter, and others encourage a 24/7 barrage of opinions on every subject imaginable.  In my upcoming book “Jolt” I reveal that the average employee spends up to 40% of his or her day dealing with email, and 70% of workers experience great stress when their email systems go down. (With 10% of that group physically assaulting their computers.)  Email, social media apps, blogs, and other tools allow us to weigh in on everything from politics to sports to art – whether or not we’re actually qualified to report on the issue at hand.

Sure – much of these are just innocent comments exchanged between friends, but the question is – how much of your life is spent spewing opinions versus developing or thinking about great ideas?

Do you spend most of your time online discussing the latest conspiracy, Kardashian sister, political or office trivia, or thinking about issues that really matter?  Certainly gossip has always been a staple in our culture.  It didn’t take social media to reveal that.  But a simple reading of local newspapers, watching TV, or checking popular magazines show that while there’s an abundance of chatter, there may be a famine of great ideas in our culture today.

The bottom line?  Fight the distractions that the digital world is built on.  Take advantage of the progress mobile devices, computers, the Internet, and other digital inventions have brought us.  But don’t forget to carve out time without those distractions.  Real thinking takes time.

The kind of time it takes to birth the serious ideas people will hopefully remember you for…

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Phil Cooke
Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California ( he helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."