30 Apr How to have Better Ideas – an introduction
Shortening the Distance from Inspiration to Full-Blown Idea
Some say “First is best” or “Trust your first instincts.”
Ernest Hemingway said “The first draft of anything is shit.”
Only one of those quotes has attribution. This could be because Hemingway, for all is eccentricities, understood that we make progress while we are working through a process. Throughout that process, we can reshape, and reform a final product before it gets out to the masses. In order to make something worthwhile, we have to have process and that always involves a first step–the idea.
Ideas are cheap.
This doesn’t mean they are worthless. In fact, some of the most useful and recognizable things in life are cheap: Kleenex, Band-Aids, bottled water.
I say “Ideas are Cheap” because anyone can have an idea. It takes much more than just an idea to accomplish anything. It takes follow-through.
Take something as complex as political ideology for instance. For many, the idea of Socialism is the best form of government. But it is just that, an idea. In practice, Socialism generally fails for many reasons, the least of which is “socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail”1
The same goes for all ideas. In the creative field, we’re often told that nothing is new, everything has been done. It’s easy to become dissuaded by a mentality of recycled creativity however that too goes against human nature and is doomed to fail.
…but there is hope, because ideas are cheap.
If one solution doesn’t work for a certain problem, we can always craft up a new one.
You are always only a moment away from a better idea
Keep that in mind as you go through your day. No matter what your career or stage in life, often only a moment separates you from a breakthrough.
For most, we go through each of our days as creatures of habit, repeating the same steps, or the same paths, even if there are alternative methods of accomplishing the same task. It takes a brief, albeit concerted, effort to improve our own lives with a better idea.
When you leave for work on a Monday morning, often you have an opinion on how the day/week may go, and if you simply go about your business, you may prove yourself to be right. But, what happens if you give just an extra moment of thought? Do you decide to take a different route to work, and discover a brand new restaurant with your absolute favorite type of food? When you stop for coffee, do you also grab donuts for your team, just to show your appreciation for them?
Sometimes the ideas that are least premeditated result in the most spontaneous joy.
So while the ideas above didn’t exist when you left for work, you allotted yourself the opportunity in a moment to execute on a better idea.
A moment is not an eternity, and remembering that as you are working through any challenge, be it design, writing, coding etc. will assist in keeping the focus on solving the problem with new, and unexpected ideas that may come about in a moment.