Sometimes, as I grapple with a problem to solve or a good question to answer, good ideas come after a good night’s sleep. Many of these ideas do not see the light of day beyond the initial euphoric reception they are accorded.
After feeling kicked about exciting ideas, a small discussion with the wrong person is enough for me to change track and conclude how silly I was to come up with such an idea. I imagine my relatives and friends looking aghast at my impractical, foolish self. After all, when and where has such a thing been done? Practically the whole day and late into the night, I brood, ashamed to have come up with the idea. Alone in my room, I even shout at myself aloud.
At this stage, I let the ideas fall into the void.
When I am luckier, a good night’s sleep is enough to engage in a re-look at the idea. The sedimentation caused by restful sleep bring newer, fresher perspectives. Dispassionate and fresh look at the solution about which I was ashamed earlier, bring me clarity and understanding. This has saved me many gems of ideas.
Usually nothing momentous happens with well-worn ideas. They perpetuate more of the same. It is usually the unusual, crazy ideas that cause a stir and matter. There are some famous marketers who make it a point to do just the opposite of what the market trends indicate. They stick out because of their weirdness.
An idea is like a path. Choosing one idea over multiple choices or one path over others, depends on how much the idea or path resonate within. Carlos Castaneda’s thought on this is breathtakingly beautiful: “Look at every path closely and deliberately…. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.”
Just as there are strong and weak actions, there are also strong and weak ideas. Believing in an idea with all my heart, makes it come alive. It then acquires an energy and momentum of its own. Ideas without a heart fizzle out, not because they are not good, but because they are made weak on account of insufficient devotion.
Ideas or solutions arise out of the womb of certain questions or problems. The questions lend the ideas currency and substance. While examining the merit of the solution contained in an idea, it will do well to understand the questions and the needs that birthed them.
An idea – even a brilliant one – remains an idea till it gains acceptability. When an idea does not get emotional buy-in from the stake holders, the chances are, they die in the embryo. The issue is not with the idea, it is with the inability to persuade. It is my responsibility, as the owner of ideas to communicate the benefits so that the world has better solutions.
There are times I do not take ownership of my own thoughts and nurture them. My thoughts and ideas announce my identity. Through them, I announce my presence to the world. But then, there are voices within that warn me:
- My thoughts are not good enough, there are so many experts and authorities out there.
Experts and authorities have totally different and often opposite perspectives on various aspects of life. They arrive at their conclusions from the data they have and the experiences they have lived. None of what they say is untrue in their context. Over dependence on masters and authorities only shake my confidence and enslave me. In the light of my experiences, my thoughts are unique, my ideas have relevance and meaning for me. Often, my friends and mentors tell me I have a lot to share and communicate with the world.
- What if the world scoffs at my ideas?
I will do well to treat myself gently, first. What is essential to remember is that I matter. Once I am kinder to myself, it will be a lot easier to take care of the world. Handling the saboteur inside is the main thing.
- My thoughts and ideas are not original enough, they have been said before.
Yes, it is almost impossible to come up with anything fully original, things which have not been said before. But like Seth Godin says in one of his recent posts, “But no one is asking you to be original. We’re asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. We’re asking you to step up and take responsibility for the work you do, and to add more value than a mere cut and paste. Sure, it’s been done before. But not by you. And not for us.” I string words and ideas distilled from my experiences. That garland has my signature on it and that is the value that I add.
- Why show off your ideas, instead of merging into the background as is your nature?
Of course, by nature I tend to blend with the background. Attention seeking is not my cup of tea, generally. At the same time, my efforts at blending made me a stranger even to myself. Lately though, I have started making my presence felt. So, I understand the profoundness of Neale Donald Walsch’s words: “There is only one reason to do anything: to announce and declare, express and fulfill, become and experience Who You Really Are.” There really is no fun being a lamp under a bushel.
How I use others’ quotes so extensively! I wonder what it takes to be quoted. And how it would feel to be quoted. These are profound questions and only silence of the night may unravel the secrets.
The number of ideas hardly matter. One gem of an idea is enough to transform a person.
At the end, it is all about acting on the ideas. I have quite a few that need time out in the sun. Like my company blog www.servicesinchennai.com which needs my devotion. I can grow more soulfully by being more frequent in this space. Then there is facebook, linkedin – arenas where I can show up.
Yes, showing up and announcing myself for the joy of it.
Or, letting go of ideas that caress my ego and trespass into someone else’s.