Ideas are born of your freedom to live life on your own terms, of creativity and of a desire to do things in your own way. Ideas are proofs to your independence as a thinker and a doer. Ideas fuel your self-confidence and fill up your desire to express yourself. Ideas are the seeds of great things in your life and can grow to sustain your ideal life if you capture and nurture them.
So to good ideas, you must hold on, just as you would to a long lost friend, to a special memory, or your own childhood work of art (I have all of one drawing that made it from my childhood, thanks to my sweet cousin who kept it from 30 years ago but I digress). With the right cues and questions, you will uncover those brilliant ideas from the sea of many that hit you in the course of the day — or for those of you with an overactive imagination, in one hour.
Before you realize the need to capture and organize your ideas, you must believe in the power of your ideas. Good ideas can save you time. Great ideas save you time and money.
Brilliant ideas can change your life completely.
Ideas can cut down the hours staring at a blank page or thinking of the right words to pull together for a speech or a presentation or even a blog post. Ideas can infuse new solutions into old problems and new life into old routines. Great ideas can kick start a diet, an exercise regimen, and a travel adventure and even reignite old relationships and stale friendships. Ideas can be a goldmine of opportunities waiting to happen, and they are free and abundant. You need only to create the right space and time for them to flourish.
Ideas are easy to think up but memory where those ideas are concerned is always fleeting.
It is as easy for a great idea to vanish into thin air, as it is for a great dream. Ideas, just like dreams, are transient, passing and teasing, oh so teasing. Your memory of them is weak at best and neither usually makes a return trip to give you a second chance to absorb them fully. Few things are more annoying than forgetting that brilliant idea that had just used up your energy and excitement around its many potentials. Where did it go? How does it dare disappear without leaving a trace?
Sometimes, the flow of creative juices visits you in the form of random and scattered thoughts. Sometimes there is a clear moment of brilliance that stands out above the rest. Ideas can hit you any time of day and for most of us, a particular activity seems to generate them best. It could be an activity that puts you in motion — such as running, walking by the beach, or driving — and hence puts your mind into a trance. It could be in tuning in to classical music or literature, listening to a speech, or talking to others where ideas come to you as a result of mental stimulation. Or it could be during mundane activities such as chopping vegetables, cleaning, folding laundry, or washing a car where your mind cuts itself loose from daily chores and problems and opens itself to new thoughts and notions. For me, the best ones are during a shower, a cycling class, meditation, yoga or flying over land and sea. What is it for you?
It pays to know how to stir the flurry of ideas in your mind and to know to listen carefully when that happens.
Welcome the ideas consciously. Now is not the time to decide which to keep and which to toss. Now is only the time to nudge them to come in the door and stay long enough so you can capture them. Capture them fast and capture them now and trust me, once you believe in the power of your own ideas, this sense of urgency will make perfect sense to you!
Best ways to capture them? Honestly, it varies among all of us and it depends on what kind of person you are and how best you go about life gathering and organizing data in general. I will gladly tell you what works for me. Perhaps, one of them also works for you or perhaps you have an altogether better way to capture ideas, in which case you must write a comment and tell all us about it!
Here are my top 5 favorite ways to ground those short-lived ideas in the right order of priority:
- Record It: Record your ideas using any free recording application on any Smart Phone or any computer or any hand-held old-fashioned yet perfectly practical tape recorder.
- Type It: Type the idea out, however fragmented or loose or incomplete it may be. Type it right away on your phone or computer.
- Write It: Write your ideas using a nice pen that enhances your writing (important!) in a journal, a notebook, hotel stationery or small notepad.
- Say It: If you are not in a position to do any of the above, say your ideas out loud to yourself, make a mental note with an association to something in your life. This will help it stick until you properly capture it later.
- Tell It: Tell someone else about them but not just anyone. Tell someone whom you love and trust and know to be open to listening without passing judgment. You can always ask them to repeat it later in case you don’t capture it in time!
The best lines in my writing and my speeches have always come to me in idle moments in the form of a great idea. My blog itself and the name Prolific Living was born out of an idea during a long walk. My best offer on this space, my 1:1 coaching sessions, came to me from an unrelated conversation with a friend. My completely out of the box health ideas have given new life to my body and my most daring thoughts came in seeds of a simple idea, an innocent “what if” which after months of analysis and thinking, turns out to be one of my best decisions yet and I thrilled to be nearing its complete execution.
None of my great ideas would have come to fruition if I had not captured them.
None of yours would either. Not unless, of course, you begin to capture them. You will, won’t you?