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You're absolutely right. Being atressive with your desires on makes life that much easier in the long run at least.I'm currently trying to establish just what I am to my partner who lives 3,000 miles away, only, I'm afraid to ask that question because I don't want him to think I'm needy. I have all the clues, but sometimes the clues are hard to read. Other times I find myself caught up in my expectations of what needs to happen.Either way, I will and from now on need to ask those questions and be that person , who is ME! And I don't mind being me

Chicago property management

Hi Bob! Thanks for this nice post. Your friend is really sweet to acknowledge you of your ideas. I read from the Book that wisdom comes from above. Does this mean that no idea is original? :-)

Wally Bock

A helpful post, Bob, and thoughtful as always. There are so many aspects to the twin challenges of giving credit where due and determining the true source of an idea or expression. Here are some others, among my own favorites.

There are ideas that seem to be "in the air." Examples are calculus, the theory of evolution, the telephone and more. Someone else may have the same new version/combination of ideas that you have.

There are made-up facts. My favorite is the study of (Yale or Harvard) graduates of the class of (1943, 1946, 1948) where a small (10, 20) percentage have (written) goals. (25, 30) years later they turn out to have accumulated more wealth than all the other graduates combined. I have never been able to find this study, nor has anyone I have challenged to do so, but it gets passed from motivational speaker to motivational speaker and now it is in the folklore of success.

There are quotes that get embellished with time. I don't know if Edison ever said anything about "learning how many things won't work," but the first time I heard it as a quote the number was fairly small. It's grown over the years. The last time I heard someone cite the example, old Tom had tried more than 10,000 materials for filaments that didn't work.

In the end, I agree that Jeff Pfeffer's take is probably a helpful guide to all of this. I'll be sure to give him credit, of course.


Touches home in several ways; have to particularly agree with Jan's point about lost ideas that need to be re-vivified. That said it is disappointing, whatever osmotic process caused one to gell out an idea or concept and try to put it in place to watch it appropriated by another for their own gain. On the other hand it is extremely gratifying to see one's ideas, sourced or not, slowly osmose into common practice and received wisdom. There is some karmic balance in both senses - that is the good work off-setting the lack of credit. It's amazing what you can get done if you don't insist on claiming credit. It's also amazing what could be done if credit were justly apportioned and what isn't when it isn't :) !


This has also hit me. You think long and hard on a problem and come up with a solution you haven't seen anywhere. And you think it's really original. But after some time you discover that often more than one person have launched the same idea in another part of the world. The only thing that's sad is that there are really great ideas from the early 20th century, that no one have heard of. If we just took care of the knowledge and refined it, instead of throwing it away for other crazy ideas.

Michael Sporer

Great post, Bob. How true that the origins of ideas are so difficult to trace. When ego rears it's ugly head, people love to take credit. You have a nice way of seeing the world clearly. And I love Jeff's quote as well.

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