Naming Ideas

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

Oscar Wilde

When you think of the word ‘apple’, what comes to mind?

Perhaps you are picturing a red fuji or granny smith fruit we call an ‘apple’. Or, if you are tech nerd like me, maybe the first thing that pops in your head is a sleek glass and metal iPhone or MacBook pro made by the company called ‘Apple’, which makes you wonder when that new gadget that’s been rumored to come out soon will be launched.

Naming is likely the first thing humanity did with words. Is a thing really a thing without a name? Likely not, or at least collectively we call it ‘undiscovered’. (You can see this taking shape with our online persona’s we create today on social media and the web. Are you really a person or business if you don’t have an Instagram presence or a website or search results? Crazy. But I digress, that’s a topic for another day.)

When learning a language, we associate a word with a picture of what that word represents. It’s crazy to me that a few simple shapes on a paper or device screen can instantly become an associate of an imaginative idea or idea that exists in reality. This is something you learn early on when studying design, specifically brand design. An brand identity isn’t just a name or logo of a brand, like Nike, Moleskine or Topo Chico, its a feeling, a mission, traits — the whole caboodle.

Think about the brand name ‘Disney’. Before Walt started his dream of an animated studio, ‘Disney’ was just a last name: ‘Hi, I’m Walt Disney’ (albeit a great last name). It’s difficult for me to even grasp what Disney meant before Disney was Disney. It’s like us having the name Jane Chimbee (made that up) and calling our company Chimbee. It means something to us (aka what our PE teacher would call us) but it doesn’t mean anything to the world yet. Disney has a vastly different identity, emotion and motivation than just a last name now.

Give your idea a name.

An name starts as a singular idea, morphs into the passion and purpose and characteristics behind the name and becomes a collective identify in the minds of people everywhere, sometimes even around the globe.

Giving an idea a name is a powerful way to make it more real in our minds.

In the beginning, an idea is just a silly thing that lives inside our imagination / head. It’s potentially quite a long path towards taking an idea and making it something real and tangible, but that starts with giving it a name.

Names aren’t permanent, they are constantly evolving (in words and in meaning), so don’t feel stuck if you aren’t sure if the name you come up with is the right name for your idea. You can always change it later as the idea is honed.

Names give us direction.

Giving ideas names is one of my favorite things to do. (…wow, get a life josh). At the very least, naming infuses a little magic into your idea and makes it a step closer towards something real. Of course, we still have to make the idea real (we aren’t done yet with just a name alone) but its a step in the direction we want. Naming our ideas also helps us define what an idea is, and likely more importantly, what an idea isn’t. For example, I knew that I had a passion for learning many things, but it wasn’t until I learned that a person that is a master of multiple things is called a ‘Renaissance Man’ (Renaissance Human) or ‘Polymath’ that I finally had the ability to express what I wanted and find insights on how to achieve it. By naming an idea, we being to discover what the idea is and means.

Names are one of the first steps towards giving your idea an identity.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Robin Williams

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #741


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