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V is for Validation

Validate: to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of. Every one of us seeks validation on some level. When we are not validated by others, we have to look at whether or not we validate ourselves. Often self-validation is the key to wider, true  endorsement.

Have you ever brought up what you thought was a brilliant solution to a problem, only to have it met with puckered mouths and rolled eyes? This lack of endorsement is common. How much of it is a result of a lack of self-validation?


The foundation of validation is verification. This is the concept of establishing your idea. Start by checking some of the facts.

  • Is the idea sound?
  • Does it solve a known problem?
  • Is it based on fact?
  • What are the shortcomings?
  • What is the chance of failure?
  • Are you endorsing the idea strictly because it is yours?

The first three are key to knowing whether or not your idea is a waste of time. The last three require looking at the idea from an objective standpoint.

Be careful when assessing the shortcomings and chance of failure of an idea. The shortcomings are not only the ways the idea could use improvement but also the consequences to others which may not be 100% favorable.

Legitimately determine if the idea has enough merit to succeed. This is difficult for a number of reasons, including seeking endorsement. Rarely is a good idea only embraced by its creator; however, just because others do not endorse your idea does not mean it is bad.

Sometimes, you need to be pitching your idea to a different audience to get it the recognition of validation.


Individuality may stand in the way of your idea. Since we are all unique, our reactions to ideas vary from person to person. Before pitching the idea to anyone else, try taking it for a test drive.

We can presume you already did that in the testing phase (verification) of your idea, but this time, drive on the wrong side of the road. You have the idea worked out in your head, so it works. (For writers, this is being too close to your story.) Changing your perspective may show you ways to improve your idea.

Occasionally, your idea looks just the same when you look at it another way. That is validation.


If you have been through verification and the only reason you are supporting the idea is because you had it, the likelihood of maintaining your own validation is slim. Why? You cannot vouch for yourself to yourself. You know you better than that.

Now, if your verification showed some promise, you can vouch for yourself to others.

  • Remember when I figured out the last one?
  • I am the voice of experience in this area.
  • I would not have brought it up if I had not already tried it.

By supplying valid reasons why your idea has merit is the best scenario, but floating something new on your reputation can get others to validate it. Vouching illustrates the validity of your idea.


Every once in a while, a good idea disintegrates into a bad idea. Any validation of the idea expires. (Go back to example of Copernicus.) Separating yourself from the idea is important. Just because your idea is not valid does not mean you are not worthy or legitimate.

Like parking stubs, some validations need to expire. Our character, belief systems and perspectives change over time. Some of our ideas need to become void. Experience and maturity invalidate many of the ideas of our youth. Outgrowing an idea does not negate self-validation.

It is still perfectly reasonable to say,

…even when the idea is yours. Better to invalidate an idea than to hold onto it after it is void.


Fence-sitting is for the birds. Rather than stand on the verge of validation, verify and vote. Not every idea you have is going to be worthy of validation. Since it is not a reflection of your character, feel free to make a choice. Validate and promote it. Invalidate it and move on. Invalidation is an exercise in remembering the lesson and forgetting the hurt.


Once you have decided which side of the fence is for you and validated your idea, get behind it full force. This does not, however, mean invalidating everything which comes in its opposition. Often, the best improvements come from those who say,

Validation begins with you. Verify, vote and turn the valve.

Do you have a method for validating your ideas before you vet them to others? What is the best kind of validation? Which is more important: validation of others or self-validation?

If you tweet or +1 this post, please use the hashtag #AtoZChallenge!

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. “remembering the lesson and forgetting the hurt.”

    Good advice, Red.
    totsymae1011 recently posted..A Big Apple Head, I AmMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 25, 2012

      Wish you had high speed there so you could peruse that one. It is one of the things I profess the most. Great to see you tonight! Stay safe, Tots.

  2. “an exercise in remembering the lesson and forgetting the hurt.” I like this 🙂

    I usually think through any ideas for a long time, looking at every side, before expressing my ideas. That’s the good and bad thing about being able to see all the good and bad 🙂 Since I vet it myself, my ideas are usually received well, even if we decide not to do it, or to morph it a bit.

    I think self-validation is more important, but more people seek other-validation instead. I guess we all want our back pats :)#AtoZChallenge!
    Angela recently posted..Cee’s life questions answeredMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 25, 2012

      I think it is, too, Angie. Most people are seeking others’ opinions in lieu of their own confidence.

  3. Often enough, we lack the confidence to fully validate our beliefs just to ourselves. If we don’t believe in ourselves, how can we expect others to believe in us?

    Sometimes, like Copernicus, we have to trust our beliefs and know that everyone else is wrong, despite the snickering hidden behind hands.

    Part of self-validation is also knowing when to give up and admit when you are wrong. If you hang onto an idea only because it is yours, what confidence can you have in yourself next time that you’re not just hanging onto another idea.

    MJ Logan recently posted..Almost AwakeMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 25, 2012

      Thinking alike. I just wrote your first point in response to Angie. And frankly, we should not expect anyone to believe when we do not.

      I think perhaps the hardest part is knowing when the horse is dead.

  4. Validation is important, but I don’t base everything on validation from others. It is nice to be validated, but I find I need to be confident in what I do first and then others provide feedback. Feedback is valuable, but I know I can’t make everyone happy.

    I do wish more people would just be honest when an idea is bad. I find that living on the East Coast does tend to include more blunt conversations. But, where I grew up was much less confrontational.
    Derek Mansker recently posted..The Learning CurveMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 25, 2012

      Perhaps it is because I am more in my element with blunt, I do not see being blunt as confrontational. I see it as honest and authentic. Sugar coating assumes the speaker knows enough about the listener to gauge how much to coat the information. Seems a bit presumptuous to me.

      Good to see you tonight, Derek.

      • You are right. Blunt is not always confrontational, unless you are a person who makes everything a personal attack. I would rather people just say what they are thinking. I am not that good at guessing. (just ask my wife)
        Derek Mansker recently posted..The Learning CurveMy Profile

        • Red

           /  April 25, 2012

          My crystal ball is cracked most of the time. It is why I ask an enormous amount of questions.

  5. I wish I had a way of validating my ideas before unleashing them! Holy crap, most of the time I act 100% on impulse. A little sober second thought isn’t a bad thing, but you know how alcoholics are.
    Liquorstore Bear recently posted..Spare the rod…and spare the mindlessness tooMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 25, 2012

      I know quite a few people who act 100% on impulse. About half of them have no impulse control filter, either. Being a bear, I would guess those decisions can all be fixed in the horror of the washing machine.

  6. Does government know about this?
    Binky recently posted..Garbage CompetitionMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 25, 2012

      They heard about it, but there was a committee who told them not to fear…their world was still flat…like their heads.

  7. Validating your article, Red. There’s lots of good stuff in here; it’s well organized and presented clearly. Thank you…looks like you’re finishing up the A – Z Blogger Challenge on a high note:)
    M. J. Joachim recently posted..Vanna White – A Crochet Hero of Mine 3KCBWDAY3My Profile

    • Red

       /  April 26, 2012

      Glad it was readable, MJ. Almost done. Looking forward to some features which were neglected this month due to the challenge.

  8. My validation comes when I propose an idea and the response is “You’re friggin crazy”. Then I know I’m on the right track!
    Friggin Loon recently posted..Random Gets An InviteMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 26, 2012

      You and me both!! Everything needs that insanity factor to balance it out.

  9. Hmmm… I tend to stick to my personal values and filter anything through them, rather like a tea strainer!

    If I’m not sure about anything I tend to stand back and evaluate it via my code of ethics before making a firm decision.

    The problem with paranoid schizophrenia is that your judgement and points of reference are skewed, so you have to be careful as to what you do and say.

    Love and hugs!

    prenin recently posted..Wednesday – vivid dreamsMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 26, 2012

      One thing you may consider, Pren, is to write your code out. It will help you keep the ideas straight and not waver when the paranoia wants to skew what you are seeing. Think of it as writing your manifesto. {HUGZ} Red.

  10. If I have an idea I just trust myself, even if it turns out to be a bad idea. Trying is the key to moving forward. If something fails I would do as you put it, “learn from the lesson and forget the hurt.” Though I admit there are times I forgot both the lesson and the hurt and repeat a mistake.
    Deb recently posted..Look DeepMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 26, 2012

      Yes, you absolutely have to keep trying. Moving away from mistakes is good. And every once in a while we all repeat something we knew from experience we should not have done. 😉 Some of those things are just outright fun, though. *Grins*


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