Have you ever had a good idea that you couldn’t get out of your head? Of course you have. Here comes the big question: What did you do about it? If you are like most people, you procrastinated. You told yourself it wouldn’t work, and conveniently forgot about it. Well, you’re not alone, but this week, I had an idea I decided not to forget. It had to do with a word I just couldn’t get out of my head.
We all know how just a few words here or there can make a big difference. Maybe you learned that when fumbling for an apology, or proposal. As a professional speaker and writer, I fumble with words for a living, and I understand more than most people how important the right words can be.
The leaders at my beloved university learned that lesson in1998. My mighty University of Maryland Terrapins were playing a nationally televised game against Stanford, (won by Maryland 62-60.) In the stands, an industrious young student was holding up a cardboard sign that read, “Fear the Turtle.” That sign was seen on the Jumbo-Tron, and ESPN’s own Dick Vitale went crazy on the air shouting, ”Fear the Turtle, baaaaby!”
An equally industrious (but perhaps not quite as creative) Drew Elburn sat at home watching this game, and he was taken by that cardboard sign. He was so taken, he decided to take this simple phrase, invest a whopping $250, and trademark it. With a little help from some local radio stations, he created a buzz in College Park. After a year and a half of negotiations with university attorneys, Drew Elburn sold the rights to use his trademark phrase, and he has since made over a million dollars.
I’m not sure if knowing this story has made me wise, or paranoid, but it made me think. For 38 weeks now, I’ve been posting something on the web but I really didn’t know what it was. It was supposed to be a blog, but Webster’s Dictionary defines a blog as “a website containing the writer’s own experiences, observations and opinions.” Close, but I’d like to think I’m offering something in it for you, like a lesson or two, like what you might find in an article. Webster’s defines the word article as “a written composition in prose, usually nonfiction forming an independent part of a book or publication.” Close, but I’m writing miniature articles at best, appearing on their own separate website like a blog.
Like Reese’s accidently getting peanut butter on a piece of chocolate, I believe I have discovered a hybrid writing form that appears as a blog, but reads as an article. And so, a new idea, or in this case, a word has been born. I am the proud father of the word BlArticle™, (pronounced blahr-ti-kuh-l),and with my application for trademark now in queue, that word will be mine someday! I thought there might be a fight for it, but surprisingly, no one else had applied for a trademark on the word Blarticle™. Phew!
It not only has a place in our vernacular, it’s kind of catchy when you think about it. Say it five times and you’ll see what I mean. Go ahead, try it! Repeat after me, (without the trademark): BlAticle™, BlArticle™, BlArticle™, BlArticle™, BlArticle™! See what I mean?! For extra credit, try using it in a sentence with a friend over the next couple of days.
Now I’ve fulfilled the blog part of all of this by telling you a story that only relates to me, so let’s get something in it for you and make a real BlArticle™ out of this. You see, I have no idea if I’ll ever get into a bidding war with two literary giants throwing millions my way to possess my precious BlArticle™ for their very own. That’s not the story here.
The story is this; It is fulfilling to try, to discover, and to take risks. What is holding you back? How many times have you said to yourself, “I know this is a good idea, and somebody someday is going to do it.” Too often your prophecy comes true. Well, why can’t that someone be you? Why can’t you launch your new word, or concept, or business, or unique idea?
Vincent Van Gogh once said, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” It doesn’t have to be a million dollar idea, or a ten dollar idea. It’s your idea, and that’s priceless.