When we make it into a New Year and others are saying, ‘Happy New Year’, I often like to say, ‘have a productive New Year.’ This is because I think the New Year is not necessarily a New Year if you are not more productive than you were in the previous year. There has to be some significant progress recorded in your life compared to the previous year.
It is not just the change in figure that makes it a New Year. I think it should be the new things and new steps or new strides that you are recording. If there is no new significant thing that you are doing, then it is not a new year.
So let’s talk about one of the ways to make your year a really new one. There are several strategies being adopted by people one on age long and proven strategy will be to look for people that you can work with in the year. When you have been trying to do something on your own and it does not work, the most sensible thing to do is to look for people who probably know more or know who you need and what you need.
Let’s call this strategy collaboration. Let’s also say that these people are collaborators. When you need to go to a higher level, one crucial strategy is to change your collaborators. Take a look at your life and see how far you have come. You have come this far by the strength of the collaboration that you leveraged on. If this is not where you want to be, then you need some collaboration with stronger networks or maybe you haven’t leveraged the strength of your network and you really need to do that.
As an undergraduate, I found out the importance of achieving much through collaboration. I wanted to publish my first book but I didn’t have the resources to do so. I thought about other ways to get it done but there was not much I could do. I kept thinking about how to get this book out until one night when I got the idea on how to collaborate with other people.
I decided this book would become an anthology. Different authors would contribute to make up the collection to be published and all the authors, at the time, were students. So we got out works together and sent a proposal to the Vice Chancellor of the school. Within a short while, we got an approval and sponsorship for the book. With that project, I learnt a very important lesson. What I had tried to achieve alone was a bit difficult but when I brought in other people, it was easier. When I presented the idea to people and they realized we were working as a team, they were receptive.
If there is anything you have been trying to do that is not working yet, I suggest you think about collaborating with other people in order to make it work. I understand the fears of several people when they hear collaboration. They think about people hijacking their ideas. They think about how they would have worked so hard, make some money and other people make away with the money.
Those concerns are serious concerns but the important thing is to have proper documentation and agreements where you have fears about people stealing your ideas or hijacking your project. You can work with a very good lawyer to sign non disclosure agreements and agreements that protect your ideas and also prove that you were the one who first discussed the idea with them.
Having said that, I have seen too many people who will not get anything done for fear of their ideas being stolen. I think it makes no sense to not let an idea come to light just because you are afraid someone else will hijack it. Work on your ideas, collaborate with people and become more productive this year. Let the legal framework in your country take care of the fears regarding what others might do to the idea.