💪 Your Ambition Is Crushing Your Potential 😫

👉 Why We Fuck Up Our Ideas And How To Avoid It
💪 Your Ambition Is Crushing Your Potential 😫
Jake McNeill
May 4, 2023
5 min read
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This may be the most important thing you are going to read today.

Understanding — and breaking— this self-sabotaging idea loop will change your life + career.

Yep, really…I truly believe this!!

If I had known this a few years ago it would have saved me thousands and thousands of pounds!

You’re high potential.

You’re intelligent with multiple creative and/or academic talents.

You come up with ideas and concepts that get you excited.

Your dopamine starts sparking.

You start joining the dots.

You see the multidisciplinary potential of your idea and how it can impact others on multiple levels.

This really gets your dopamine pumping.

You have found THE idea.


As dopamine courses through your mind, your idea-generating machine of a brain starts firing on all cylinders and going into overdrive.

You’re a visionary.

You can see things that neurotypicals can’t even comprehend.

But you’ve pumped your simple idea with so many dopamine steroids that it’s grown arms and legs exponentially!

You add layer and layer of complexity.

Then your dopamine crashes.

You’ve created a multi-dimensional visionary concept that is so overwhelming that you don’t know where to fucking begin.

You get overwhelmed.

And then you procrastinate.

And then beat yourself up.

You’ve overcomplicated the shit out of it.

Your over-ambition has crushed your potential

And if you’re not careful, you will live your whole life repeating this pattern.

  1. You have a new idea >
  2. Dopamine kicks in >
  3. You complicate the shit out of it >
  4. You don’t know the first step>
  5. And you get overwhelmed >
  6. Then you procrastinate >
  7. And beat yourself up for not being productive on the very idea that got you so excited in the first place

You are stuck.

You are more than capable of achieving everything you can visualise so clearly. I know because I’ve seen this happen countless times.

But you’re getting ahead yourself. You’re overcomplicating and over-conceptualising your ideas unnecessarily.

You’re the architect of your own obstacles which you create with your own high intelligence.

You’re getting in your own way.

The more intelligent you are, the more you overcomplicate your ideas, and the more you’ll beat yourself up for not being able to execute those ideas.

You start planning your idea 3-5-7 years in advance.

You are trying to connect the dots way into the future. You are stuck trying to solve problems that are years away.

But it needs to all make sense, otherwise, you will lose interest.

Your pattern-recognition brain needs to see the connections.

One of my genius clients refers to it as being pattern sluts which hit hard and simultaneously made me chuckle.

We are pattern recognition sluts.

You know you’re not fulfilling your potential. And that scares you to your very core.

This means you crank up your ambition.

You see ideas that you have had in the past become successful which is both marginally satisfying to your ego and massively destroying your soul.

The dopamine highs are really high but conversely, the dopamine crashes are really fucking low!!

You start beating yourself up mercilessly for not being productive over the very idea that ignited your dopamine highs in the first place.

It’s your overambition that is crushing your potential.

It’s the overthinking and under-executing that is keeping you stuck, which is rinsing your confidence.

I have fallen for the same traps.

I have lost thousands and thousands of pounds on ideas I overcomplicated the shit out of in dopamine fuelled deals which left me overwhelmed and burnt out and significantly poorer.

I see this all time with clients who have brilliant ideas. They have visions that are potentially genius.

I’m really grateful to work with brilliant minds.

But they don’t know what the first step is.

They get overwhelmed and remain stuck for years.

Their ideas haunt them.


The first thing you need to realise is that in you’re a divergent thinking thought loop fuelled by your dopamine, your ambition, your pattern recognition skills and your intelligence.

You’re not alone.

You’re not broken.

You’re a multipotentialite

We all do this.

You need to simplify.

You need to strategise your ideas from the bottom up and not the top down.

When I work with clients I help them simplify their ideas.

I help them synthesise and distil their concepts through frameworks so others can comprehend and buy into their vision.

I do what I have done myself.

I take complex, multidisciplinary concepts about divergent thinking and multipotentiality and I simplify them.

Multipotentialite Richard Feynman said, “ If you cannot explain something in simple terms, you don't understand it.”

Multipotentialite Albert Einstein said, “If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself.”

I help clients do the same. I simplify their ideas.

I help them reverse engineer their concept. I create step-by-step guides to remove the overwhelm and build out a minimum viable creativity.

What is Minimum Viable Creativity?

J.R.R. Tolkien was a huge perfectionist and procrastinator. He was always late for meetings, missed deadlines, took weeks or months to respond to letters, generated multiple ideas constantly, and had low self-esteem.

He created one of the most complex multi-faceted fantasy worlds in literary history.

I’m going to take an educated stab and say he was a multipotentialite.

A neurotypical would never be able to come up with stuff like that. They simply don’t have the imagination or the creativity.

Tolkien spent years drawing maps and imagining his characters and fantasy worlds before he started writing Lord of the Rings.

His famous trilogy “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers,” and “The Return of the King” sold over 150 million copies worldwide — not to mention the movie franchise.

He was a genius.

But none of it would exist outside of Tolkien’s imagination until he wrote:

  • The first sentence
  • The first paragraph
  • The first page
  • The first chapter

This is minimum viable creativity. Start at the beginning.

Step 1— realise and accept you’re in a dopamine fuelled ideation loop

Step 2 — Simplify your idea/ concept.

Step 3— Start at the end and reverse engineer your concept

Step 4 — Start with minimum viable creativity.

You need to get your idea out there.

You need to bring it to life in its simplest form. You start a tiny (messy) experiment.

You simplify processes.

You create a simple step-by-step guide.

Then you need internal or external accountability in order to be consistent. You need support to overcome the inevitable obstacles.

  • The perfectionism
  • The overthinking
  • The overcomplicating
  • The procrastination
  • The self-doubt

You need to get out of your way.

The reality is we’re natural-born idea generators but we’re not natural-born executers.

One of my clients poetically and tragically described his ideation process as “creating the most beautiful movies the world will never see.”

We’re visionaries but the visions overwhelm us.

  • We need clarity
  • We need strategy
  • We need accountability

And then we can execute

A word of warning.

You will lose faith in your ideas. We all do.

Self-doubt will creep in. You will second-guess yourself. You will think both you and your ideas might be crazy.

You’re not crazy. Perhaps your ideas are? It’s the crazy ideas that usually work.

You’re an intelligent multipotentialite.

You will think your work is shit.

It’s not.

You’re a talented multipotentialite.

When Tolkien finished his massive 600,000-word first draft of “The Lord of the Rings,” he said:

And now I look at it, the magnitude of the disaster is apparent to me. My work has escaped my control, and I have produced a monster: an immensely long, complex, rather bitter, and very terrifying romance, quite unfit for children (if fit for anybody).” — The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

We can’t all be world-famous literary geniuses.

But we owe it to ourselves — and the world— to get our ideas and concepts out there so we can have an impact.

So we can fulfil our potential.

So we can make a racket in crowded markets and avoid living a life of silent insignificance.

Stop trying to write the trilogy and start writing the first page.

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Jake McNeill

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