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black holes

A black hole is a “region of space-time where gravity is so strong that nothing that enters the region, not even light, can escape” (Wikipedia).

Black holes are the enemies of good ideas.

A father can become a black hole if he puts down every suggestion.  Children want to be affirmed, to feel valued.  No one wants to be constantly put-down.  The easiest way to avoid a put-down?  Offer no suggestions.

A boss can become a black hole if he or she believes every good idea must originate with them.  Employees who offer ideas only to see them dry up or go unused will eventually stop offering ideas.

A friend can become a black hole if they treat opinions with sarcasm.  Not every opinion is equal.  Not every opinion is correct.  But every opinion is personal, even the most hair-brained idea.  Sarcasm communicates a lack of appreciation — not just for the opinion, but for the person.

A black hole is anything that shuts down the production of good ideas.  The question for any leader, father, or friend is this: am I creating the kind of environment where good ideas go to die?