Holding On to An Idea

We all forget things often and risk losing good ideas. As soon as a brilliant idea comes to you, there are two things you can do to preserve it. First, you can record it – in writing, picture, drawing or video – and put it in a place where you will never lose it. The alternative, I’m afraid, is to let the idea linger in mental space and see if it can stand the test of time. The best ideas are not easily forgotten and won’t leave you alone. If you truly want to test the relative strength your idea, see whether you forget it after a while. If you fail to write it down and never forget it, chances are pretty good that your idea counts for something and isn’t going to run away from you.

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Bad Ideas Are Good

Writer’s block is a very difficult dragon to slay. Bad ideas are better than nothing – at least you are coming up with ideas at all. A pile of bad ideas can still be useful. Never kill a bad idea prematurely. Let it run its course, in tandem with other bad ideas. Bad ideas can overlap and form alliances. Enough bad ideas can inspire a good one. Keep your mind open. Let the ideas flow. Analyze and annotate without surgery or criticism. Brainstorm until you can brainstorm no more. Then dig the gem out from underneath the rubble.

Create

Balance between input and output is key. Lately, consumption is easier than ever. Distractions run amuck. But the tools are easier than ever, too. Save for more distractions, you have no excuse to procrastinate your work and talent. If you’re not creating, you’re consuming. You’re not giving back to the world and people in it who give you so much. You’re living a selfish relationship with life. Good luck leaving a legacy. No thank you.

Write. Paint. Speak. Raise children. Build things. Get your hands dirty. Give back to the world and the people you care about. Make a difference. Don’t sit still. Don’t wait and watch. Don’t only take in – put out (no innuendo intended). Try not to concern yourself with turning your creation into your business – if you create well enough, the business will come. Focus on building great things and gifting them to all. It’s good for the soul (and can’t hurt your legacy).

Dreams Aren’t Real Enough

Dreams remain fantasies until you write them down. On paper, a dream transforms into a plan. With a plan, you can see it as you do your own to-do list. Others can see it as well and jump on board. Pitch your plan. Wear it on a t-shirt. Share it with everyone. After all, someone might want to help you. You may even start to believe that it’s more than just a dream.

Take your dream out of its fantasy box and put it in a place where it can become a reality. Keep calling it a dream and it will always stay that way.

Resurrecting An Idea

Leaders do not live forever. Therefore, every follower has the opportunity to lead. By the hands of those who follow, the messages and teachings of a leader can live on. Apprentices, disciples and true believers are responsible for standing up for and keeping an idea alive. Traditions, trades, crafts and stories all pass away if not nurtured.

Fable or history, the story of Christ survives. No matter what you believe, you can admire the staying power of the brand and message. If the Disciples of Christ broke into the tomb to exhume Jesus’s body, give him a proper burial and cover their trail by haunting the authorities with his resurrection, the story bears no less weight. These followers loved a man and his teachings so much that they risked everything against one of the harshest regimes in history to help the memory and message never die. The power of that rebellion lasted two millennia and continues to live on. Even if the man never existed, cultural outcasts stood for, developed and passed on the message until it flourished throughout the world. Followers became leaders to resurrect an idea and keep the light alive. That’s worth celebrating, no matter what you believe.

Big Ideas Vs. Reactive Ideas

Inspiration comes from many different places. More often than not, it comes from your immediate surroundings or industry. You see or hear something cool that is not quite perfect and needs improvement. You think you can do better. You set off to tell a better story or build a better application. You compete for a variable solution to the same problem. Game changer? Maybe. Life changer? Probably not.

Through the omniscient connectivity of the internet, we all lead fairly informed lives. With all the information available, we tend to react more to what’s outside than what’s inside. Businesses react to the market. Individuals react to circumstances. Inspiration surfs on the wake of trends. What this creates is an iterative marketplace. People spend more time reacting to and interpolating other people’s ideas than reflecting on their own needs or experiences.

Big ideas come from small people facing big problems. We all qualify to tackle big problems if we close our ears and open our minds to draw inspiration from within. Solve large, important human problems – not just little day-to-day problems. Contest the market as-is; strive to create a market of your own. If you can identify immediate competition tackling the same problem, your idea isn’t big enough.

Originality and Good Questions

Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d'Albert E...

Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d'Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world has not run out of new ideas. We have stopped asking good questions. We are so inundated by the content we consume that we spend more time processing the things we’re told instead of the things we are not. Einstein and da Vinci did not watch television or facebook five hours per day; they left little-to-no time for distractions, compartmentalized research and focused all energy into exploring the world around them. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film that asked deep questions or read a book that made me think. In a postmodern age where we are all hyper-consumers, we spend our energy living and breathing other people’s work instead of creating our own. There’s plenty of new ideas out there: the world is constantly evolving with new challenges and trends. If you ask thorough questions and wrestle with contemporary issues, you will find a goldmine of fresh ideas.

Don’t just sit back and watch. Engage. Ask questions. Then put the book or iPad down for a day to go tango with the world around you.