Once upon a time, a youth went to see a wise man. “I have come seeking advice, for everyone tells me that I am a failure and a fool. I beg you, help me!” The wise man glanced at the youth, and answered hurriedly: “Forgive me, but I am very busy right now, but if you agree to help me, I will happily return the favor.”

“Of course, Master,” muttered the youth, noting bitterly that yet again his concerns had been dismissed as unimportant. “Good,” said the wise man as he removed a small ring with a beautiful gem from his finger. “Go to the market square and sell this ring for me, in order to pay off a debt. Try to get a decent price for it, and do not settle for anything less than one gold coin.”

When he arrived at the market square, he showed it to the various traders, who at first examined it with close interest, but turned him away. Only one old merchant was decent enough to explain to him that a gold coin was too high a price to pay for such a ring, and that he was more likely to be offered only copper, or possibly silver.

When he heard these words, the youth became very upset, for he remembered the old man’s instruction not to accept anything less than gold. Feeling thoroughly depressed by his failure, he returned to see the wise man.

“Master, I was unable to carry out your request,” he said. “At best I would have been able to get a couple of silver coins, but you told me not to agree to anything less than gold. But they all told me that this ring is not worth that much.”

“That’s a very important point, my boy,” the wise man responded. “Before trying to sell a ring, perhaps it would not be a bad idea to establish how valuable it really is. And who can do that better than a jeweler? Go to him and find out what his price is. Only do not sell it to him, regardless of what he offers you. Instead, come back to me straightaway.”

The young man set off to see the jeweler. The latter examined the ring through a magnifying glass for a long time, then weighed it on a set of tiny scales. Finally, he turned to the youth and said: “Tell your master that right now I cannot give him more than 58 gold coins for it. But if he gives me some time, I will buy the ring for 70.”

“Seventy gold coins?!” exclaimed the youth. He laughed, thanked the jeweler and rushed back at full speed to the wise man.

When the latter heard the story from the now-animated youth, he told him: “Remember, my boy, that you are like this ring. Precious and unique. And only a real expert can appreciate your true value. So why are you wasting your time wandering through the market and heeding the opinion of any old fool?”

Many ideas and many innovators sit on the sideline at your business due to lack of confidence. Be bold, drive out fear and lack of confidence, and pursue the changes you seek to build. Your step-by-step plan:

1. Do your own research into the idea and develop it to build your confidence;
2. Build working prototypes in your own private workshop. Use whatever you have;
3. Build another better prototype;
4. Tear apart the second prototype and improve it;
5. Only then, share it with the person who you believe is the expert, and;
6. Build it and share it!

Happy Innovating!

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