When people come up with ideas, they often assume that:
- coming up with an idea is the same thing as coming up with an idea first (it isn't, read existing literature)
- coming up with an idea first is dramatically more special than coming up with an idea (it isn't)
- the wealth of existing literature does not include their idea (almost always it does)
- unpublished ideas do not count (they do, lots of important discoveries happen verbally, and unfortunately sometimes only verbally :( )
- coming up with it first is more important than fleshing out a body of work (it isn't)
And these assumptions tend to make people very unhappy. I repeatedly see people succumbing to sadness over multiple discovery. It shouldn't be sad, it should be a happy event, as it confirms our thoughts and presents an opportunity for collaborations.