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Three steps to turning big ideas into big opportunities

Thomas Edison knew the world was too dark, Henry Ford knew the world was too slow, and Estee Lauder knew the world was too bland.

These icons did more than think up big ideas. They saw an opportunity – and took action.

At YE, we teach Opportunity as one of our Foundational Values. It’s the value that moves us from passive to active, from having a good idea to making it happen, from community problems to improving our communities. Here are three steps to turning big ideas into big opportunities:

1. Seek

Big ideas can feel like they come out of nowhere, and consequently, we think of them like lightbulbs turning on. But like a lightbulb takes electricity, ideas are engaged by knowledge. So be curious. Ask questions. Read the local newspaper. Follow truthful, newsworthy social media accounts. Engage your community and seek the best knowledge. Go full-on sponge. Now, those ideas are ready to flourish.

2. Reflect

Once you’ve gathered all the knowledge you can, it’s time to reflect. Dig in and look for patterns and holes. Identify places where something isn’t working, or where it is working but could be done a little better. A place where something could improve someone’s life. Or a group of lives. Aha! You’ve identified a problem.
Now, think about ways to solve your problem. What would you do if you were faced with it? Think deeply, because at the intersection of a problem and a solution lies that big, beautiful word we’re all looking for: opportunity.

3. Act

When we identify a solution to a problem, it is our moral and social responsibility to act. Yet, we often pass the buck, thinking to ourselves, “someone else will take care of it.” In each of these instances, we not only do our communities a disservice, but we also pass up enormous personal opportunity.

Entrepreneurs see these opportunities – and take action. That’s why we teach students to engage an entrepreneurial mindset, and to live out the principles necessary to implement change in the world. We teach the philosophy that even the smallest action or step can set in motion a chain reaction of incremental positive changes, ultimately improving life for ourselves and for others. That mindset is where the biggest, best ideas are born – and where opportunity awaits.

Feeling inspired to take action? YE provides opportunities to get involved and teach opportunity to our students via classroom mentoring, judge panels, speaking engagements, educational business activities, partnerships and internships. Visit YEacademy.org to learn how to implement opportunity into your classroom.