An Instant Formula for New Ideas
Here's the formula: Notice what’s in front of you.
Now, you might be indignantly wondering, what’s that supposed to mean?? What if you want something other than what’s in front of you (which might seem like nothing)? I’ve often been in that situation: I think I’m overdue for a “download” of a new idea - clearly I’ve got my own agenda which has it’s own timeline - but nothing seems to be coming to me. Then I get impatient (which is a clear sign that my thinking is off). I lose my receptivity when I want the whole idea to come fully formed into my mind and out my hands, as if I were Mozart, simply acting as the scribe for a symphony that’s rushing to get onto the paper.
Throughout business, the scientific realm, the art world and in private life, there are tons of examples of people having ideas that seem to come fully formed, or at least formed enough, without a lot of struggle or angst. Isn’t that what we all want? Voila! Who doesn’t want inspiration and it’s expression to be easy? But frequently, what isn’t mentioned is the fact that ideas have their own mysterious process for manifestation - both in what form and to whom. They come when they come, and most of the time ideas come when we aren’t putting pressure on ourselves, demanding those ideas to come to us now. There’s even research that’s been done on how common it is for ideas to come to someone in the shower, or after taking a nap or a walk in nature. Just as a pregnant mother can’t force a baby to come before it’s ready just because she herself thinks it’s time, we can’t force ideas to come before those ideas are ready. They have a life of their own, a momentum, and it just never ends well when we try to insist they appear.
What always does go ever so much better is when we let ourselves settle down and let go of wanting something that doesn't appear to be showing up right then. Here’s what I mean. Recently, I had a deadline for a project and no idea of how to accomplish it. I didn’t even have a good starting point. I got more and more annoyed and frustrated, I took a break, had a nice snack to soothe myself, and then I glanced through a magazine. Suddenly it dawned on me that I’d been trying to force something to come to mind. As soon as I realized that, the proverbial (mental) decks were cleared and my ability to be receptive expanded. Immediately I noticed an idea that was probably right in front of me all along but I wasn’t really open to it. Just like when we search for something, like our keys or our glasses and we can’t find them. As soon as we take a break or a breath, there they are, right under our noses.
Life keeps giving us these wonderful reminders that magic happens when we’re open and willing to “just be and just see,” instead of trying to force something to happen. When we tell ourselves there’s a deadline or a responsibility or an expectation, it’s as though we’re holding out our hands to receive, but in actuality our hands are two tightly clenched fists. When we open our hands, palms upward, knowing we’re not in control, the ideas seem to know that we’re ready to receive them.
I’d love to hear about your experiences - whether they conform to what I’ve described or they’ve been something else entirely. Drop me a line or two here and I’ll respond to you directly.