A lot of people dream. Many of us have invented things in our mind or had reasonable ideas. The problem is when we never jump on any of these to bring them into fruition in our lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if we could see the collective thoughts of only a handful of people having a lot of untapped value. Hypothetically we could analyze them for ideas, and have a panel decide on whether any of the ideas was valuable. Unfortunately somehow none of the thoughts were followed up on with action. Someone else had the idea dawn on them and actually made moves with it. Perhaps the idea that you have hasn’t even come to light yet, but the only one capable of executing it is you, and you’re reluctant to take a shot. Ask yourself what the worst that can go wrong is. Ask yourself what taking the steps to making the idea a reality would cost in terms of time and resources. Figure out if it’s all realistically feasible.
If you don’t know enough to know what it would require, you can inform yourself about how patents work or explore the technology that would be involved in order for your idea to come to life. A lot of this would take some work, there’s no doubt about that. The plan here is that if the idea has value you are sitting on an untapped goldmine. It came to you first, and you’re the only person that can make moves to make it a reality, why not try it? If you go through this thought process yourself, and come to the realization that you cannot execute the idea on your own, that’s perfectly fine. Figure out whether the idea might have value to other individuals, entities, or companies. If you think it would add value to their product offerings and/or provides a solution to an existing problem, find out how you can protect your idea through patents. The way to approach this may be patenting the idea in order to secure it so that it isn’t stolen, then pitching it to the potential benefactors in question. They may give you a legitimate offer to take the patent off your hands. You may even be able to negotiate a scenario where you’ll be able to benefit a percentage of each sale simply for supplying the basis for the product.
The truth is the majority of ideas would likely not require patenting. The only ideas that you would likely patent are essentially ones that you can execute into a prototype of a device that solve a problem broad enough to market for. Outside of making your own product prototype, that can later be reproduced for profit, there are not many other considerations for patenting the ideas. The only exceptions I would venture to guess are if you have a very specific blueprint to enhance an existing idea greatly or the entirety of its’ execution from top to bottom is mapped out. There may be cases where you needed to map it out instead of create a prototype because you don’t have access to the tools required to make an example. You need to ensure that each component of the invention would work properly together without compatibility problems. No one wants to waste time or money filing for patents that aren’t for a product, or potential product, that has real applicability. Even still there may be some unforeseen problems, so these patenting endeavors might include some element of risk. There are also certain industries, such as the video game industry for instance, where execution is the greatest importance and ideas are of secondary importance. Major companies still patent some aspects of their big titles, but sometimes they are heavily infringed upon in the long run. This means that protecting the in-game ideas in the court of law would become difficult in such instances.
Essentially if your idea is driven by a business model that doesn’t rely on significant innovation you probably don’t need to patent it. Likewise if it’s not the execution of an idea that solves an existing problem in a way that wasn’t done before, you probably don’t have to patent it either. If your inspiration is to offer a competitive offering of an existing business in such a way that other competitors would need you or your team to compete in the same way, you’ll probably be better off focusing on setting the business up and getting started. For instance, assume you have a great team who knows how to get lawns mowed efficiently and without error. There are all types of equipment at your disposal in the existing marketplace, but your competitive edge exists inside your teammates and yourself. You don’t have to worry about patents, you only have to concern yourself with establishing the existing team. It would be different if you produced a lawn-care product that caused lawns to become greener and simultaneously grow back slower. This would probably need protection through patenting so that nobody can reverse engineer your proprietary formula and steal it. A company with larger distribution channels can put you out of business quickly if they know your valuable secrets. This is why it’s vital to consider whether or not your idea merits direct protection through patents or not. Patents aside, you might still want to trademark some aspect of your company logo, business cards, and your name. That way you don’t find someone stealing it for their lawn company and borrowing your successful brand by portraying themselves as you. This could tarnish your reputation or cause you to lose business if they did. Trademarking is a valuable tool for consumer protection that one should consider carefully in this kind of endeavor.
Some dreams don’t come to us in the form of ideas or inventions. They may be different career pursuits, aspirations in the realm of sports, or desires to take our hobby to the next level. Don’t leave these things on your pillow. We want to bring God glory in everything we do if we aim to live a Christian lifestyle. With that said, we want to make sure that God is on board with our dreams first and foremost. Assuming that God approves of our journey, we need to find the best approach we can concoct and work towards that goal daily. Some of these goals may be only a season of our lives, but that doesn’t make the time invested in it is any less meaningful. It doesn’t mean that God cannot use you to bring glory to Him through that hobby, career move, or sports related ambition. While work ethic is important, sometimes a dose of realism is what we need in order to bring us back to reality. For example, I am 26 years old and I love the game of basketball. I know that I could get in reasonable shape, practice regularly for many hours, try my absolute best, and desire to play in the NBA. Having a realistic chance to play in the NBA however is slim to none. I am not above 6 ft. tall, I am already at a relatively old age to begin playing the game professionally, and being honest with myself I realize that this isn’t plausible for me. I could still love the game, likely do well in pick-up games, and polish my skills no doubt.
There just comes a point where you have to be realistic about where you are, where you want to go, and where you can actually make it. This shouldn’t cause you to doubt a dream that God has placed in your heart or listen to the voices of man over God’s voice. What we need to do is make sure that the goal is obtainable. We want to know that there is a reasonable chance of success even if we fail to make it. It’s okay to fall short, often times failing or losing will bring you more lessons and knowledge than success. When you prevail you tend to boost your own self-esteem and open the door to overestimation of your prowess. We tend to diminish the impact of chance in the equation. Sometimes it may be God giving us a supernatural opportunity to succeed, other times it might just be an unforeseen circumstances that appeared and caused a favorable outcome in our investment or idea. What I am trying to say is that if we failed in the process, there are many potential lessons that we could learn from the experience. We could learn better business planning, better foresight, a more keen reliance on God, patience, or any number of other beneficial attributes that would help us in future projects. When we succeed, we might take for granted what it took for the stars to align essentially so that our success would be brought to light.
Of course by no means do we want to begin a course if we view it as destined to fail. Eventually, if not right away, we’d like to pursue something that prevails and overcomes all odds if need be to see that accomplishment through to the end. Make sure to check your motivations at the door, especially as a believer in Jesus Christ. If you’re a believer you’ll want to make sure your motives are deeply rooted in a desire to bring God glory and draw closer to Him in the process. If we cannot see a benefit where we’re winning souls for God, following His will for our lives, and/or bringing Him glory then we need to really figure out if there’s really a point. If you foresee a project or opportunity making a lot of money, and not being morally questionable, maybe there’s a place for it. Assuming you are fiscally responsible, a lot of good can be done potentially. With your newly acquired wealth you can pray that God would bless you with the wisdom to be a good steward with the money. Pray that He would not give you more than you can handle responsibly, and that no amount of worldy assets would be given to you that would take your eyes off of Him. If we were to receive that amount then the damage would far outweigh the benefits. What good is it to tithe 10% of our income if our hearts aren’t in the right place and we aren’t cheerful givers? What good is it to inherit the world if we’ve lost our souls? (V*1).
Sometimes whether we’re Christians, or we have yet to embrace the gift of eternal life through God’s Son Jesus Christ, we allow barriers to our dreams. Our unresolved fears are allowed to keep us from the dreams God placed in our hearts. We give people an opportunity to discourage us from following the dream because they foresee only failure and negativity. The ideas that we believe have a strong potential to succeed actually often do have it. The timetable may end up being different than what we initially envisioned. God may have a timing that is completely different than our own. That’s okay, if anything it should encourage us that God is stepping in to speed up or slow down our desires. If you’re seeing God’s hand at work in you through your work in the dream, you’ve got first-hand verification that the King of Kings is on your side. There’s nobody in this world that can close a door that God would like open, likewise there is no way we can pry open a door that God wants closed for us.
We need to respect the doors that He opens and closes for our benefit. If our motivations are rooted in His will, we don’t have to worry about being punished for having a desire to get rich quickly. God punishes those who are in a hurry to get rich. (V*2). Even if it isn’t an initial motivation we need to be alert that it doesn’t become one, question our hearts and minds once in a while. Make sure that we are still truly aligned with God’s Word in the context of the dream. Continue to prayerfully pursue God’s guidance so that we may act upon the circumstances we deal with in wisdom, prudence, and discretion that only God can give us. Humbly seeking His will and His wisdom over our own, because we know ours is flawed and His is perfect. In Jeremiah we observe that our hearts are desperately wicked and essentially corrupt. (V*3). That’s one of the reasons why we need to ask God to purify our hearts consistently. We want to ensure that we don’t follow simply our hearts, but instead follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. The desires of the flesh, lust of the eyes, or the leading of a wicked heart would only cause us to go astray. These faulty draws can only cause us trouble. We need to rely on the lead of the Holy Spirit if we want to walk the straight and narrow path that leads to Heaven in all areas. (V*4).
If you’ve received a dream that you are unsure about, you need to submit it to God in prayer and wait for an answer. I would say this particularly rings true if we’re committing to a long-term project, but I would respect prayerfully seeking God’s will in short-term decisions also. Often we may even be given the go ahead to start pursuing a dream, but God doesn’t want us to see the success we envisioned. His version of our success may be totally different than what we had planned. In other scenarios it may be exactly what we had dreamed, but His timeline for it was different than our own. In all of these cases, and any other that you can think of where God gives us what we perceive to be a detour, we should be thrilled to continue to pursue the dream He has blessed us to pursue.
Keep open lines of communication with Him so that you are on the same page with God, namely on His page not our own. We don’t want to find ourselves pursuing the same dream out of selfish ambition, if we do we need to ask Him to purify our hearts and minds. If we find ourselves in this situation, let’s ask Him to shift the desires of our hearts back in line with His will. This might even be an aspect of why the dream hasn’t been allowed to come to light. He wants to mold our character before we’re ready to see the success that He plans for us. He may want to see that our heart is still focused completely on Him and not the gifts that He has given us. I want to be in a position where I thank God for the smallest of material blessings to the largest of Spiritual blessings and everything in between. If I am thankful for them, chances are that I view Him as the ultimate Provider of all these things. I need to correctly know that He has the authority to give or take away any of it. I want to be willing to adapt my person to the future He shapes for me. I want to step into the preparation that He gives me daily because He knows intimately what I can and cannot handle. He knows when I desperately need His help in an area because alone I could not make it. I know in my heart that I am happy being reliant on God to take care of me, because I am His and He is mine. What an honor to call myself one of His children.
When we have this attitude, the dreams become secondary to our obedience to God. If he puts us in a season where He is refining our skills or positioning us for the future, we need to be patient. If He puts us in a stage of life where trials and tribulations or sufferings are being battled day in and day out, He may want to see our humility and obedience before He offers us a chance to serve in another way. Remember the story in the Gospels about the blind man? The disciples asked Jesus Christ what the man had done in terms of sin to deserve such suffering, but Jesus Christ was clear that he was created so that the “works of God should be revealed in him.” (V*5).
The disciples incorrectly assumed that it was because of generational sin issue that he had received some degree of punishment with his blindness, but Jesus Christ set the situation straight. Then he was miraculously healed and the latter verses make it clear that he now had a beautiful testimony to share about the goodness of Jesus Christ. The Son of God had performed a miracle on him, and even in our finite understanding of it we could see that God’s work was truly revealed in him. What a mighty and perhaps unexpected purpose this man was able to fulfill. He may not have known himself that he would be the subject of a miracle, but God knew his purposes before he was even knitted together in his mother’s womb. God’s power is made perfect in weakness, this man’s situation in the Gospel is a great example of that. (V*6).
In the end we want to pursue the dreams of God above our own dreams. We want the dreams we have in our hearts to align with the dreams that God would want us to have in our hearts. These kinds of desires demonstrate a mature faith in us. Often it’s easier said than done, but this is no excuse to give up trying to get to this position. God will polish and mold you into the person you need to be, you just need to make sure you opened the door by your own free will. Open the door for God to put the right dreams in your heart and give you the right motivations. It doesn’t always occur in the way that we expect, hope, or dream. We shouldn’t allow failure, detours, or obstacles to hinder our hopes or determination. We just need to treat them as reminders that we couldn’t do it alone without God. He will make a way when there seems to be no way. (V*7).
V*1 – “36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV).
V*2 – “20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 28:20 (NKJV).
V*3 – 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV).
V*4 – “13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV).
V*5 – “9 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I[a] must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.” John 9:1-7 (NKJV).
V*6 – “9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV).
V*7 – “6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.” Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV).