Friday, June 17, 2011

Idea: A Topic and a Claim

Ideas are the stuff of life. We live by them. We look for them in all our entertainment and discussion. They’re the conclusions we draw that help us make sense of this crazy, mixed-up world.

You can move to the head of your class (company, firm, social group, foursome) by learning to recognize, create, and manage ideas.

Here’s a hot tip that will help. Every great idea relates two universal human values.

Example 1: All men are created equal. The two values are mankind and equality.

Example 2: We learn to succeed by overcoming failure. The two values are success and overcoming.

Practice until you can identify the two values related (equated, compared, or contrasted) in every idea you can find.

Now, notice that every idea has two parts, just as every sentence has two parts (subject and predicate). The two parts of an idea are the TOPIC and the CLAIM.

If my topic is education and the claim I am making about education is that it is key to career success, then my idea statement might read: Education is key to career success. Of course, there are many other claims we could make about the topic education. As examples: Education is expensive. Education opens windows to the world. Education satisfies the hunger to learn. Each statement makes a claim about the topic education.

Learning Activity

Find the two values related by the idea statements below. Mark the value that is the TOPIC of the idea, then the value that presents the CLAIM.

For example: Love (topic) makes the world go ’round (claim).

Children mimic parental behavior.

Pets help to educate our children.

Career ambitions can enslave us.

When we’re miserable, we know we are alive.

Fitness is like icing on the cake.

Failure leads to success.

Extreme fashions may draw unwanted attention.

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