How to Turn Your Rejected Ideas into Successful Ideas

By Phil Cooke

If you’re creative, you’re bound to have boxes of rejected ideas. It’s been said that the key to better ideas is to have lots of ideas, so you have to go through a lot of rejects to find the gold. 

But that doesn’t mean you toss those rejected ideas.

This is where the computer changed everything for me. Instead of boxes of rejected ideas and plans written on backs of napkins, brochures, in notebooks, legal pads, and everything else, I can now easily keep and organize everything I create – whether it’s used or not.

I call it the “dead file” and although clients may have killed them, it doesn’t mean their life is over. Now, when a new project comes along, I just scan through the file of ideas that might not have worked for a previous project, but could be perfect for right now.

Save yourself some trouble. Armed with a dead file, you don’t have to start everything from scratch.

So start a dead file of your own, stop getting frustrated, and never toss anything creative. I learned early in my career that ideas one client may hate are ideas other clients will pay a great deal for today.  


Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Their Credibility and How We Get It Back.” Find out more at

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