August 16, 2017
Nourish Your Ideas
"Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward: they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game." -- Johan Wolfgang von Goethe
Where do ideas come from? Do they spring up unexpectedly, arrive only after careful thought, occur during or after a brainstorming session, happen merely by chance? Do you sometimes wake up with a brilliant idea and can't wait to put it into action? Truthfully, there are countless ways for an idea to germinate.
Some may even pop to the surface following failure. What? How can failure serve to serve up an idea?
Consider that the human mind is endlessly resourceful. There are no limits to its capability and its fount of creativity similarly has no bounds. So what if your hopes were dashed by a recent mistake, a string of unfortunate incidents that left you questioning your abilities or worth? It's often from the litter of failure that crumbs become distinct, leading to an idea worth pursuing.
Just because you lose, it is never the end of the story. Losing can be the beginning of something new and great, the start of a thought that morphs into a possibility and gradually solidifies into a fully-formed idea.
The key is to nourish your ideas. Give them credence and space to grow and become stronger. Instead of censoring a thought and tossing it out as unworkable, impractical, too costly or time-consuming or some other negative, leave the impossible out of the equation -- at least for now. There will be plenty of time later to work out the details, to weigh all the pros and cons of your idea and identify what holds promise and what may be better left for another time.
Suppose you wake up on a bright summer day and have a thought about how delightful the sounds of the fresh morning make you feel. You're inspired to get up and at it and, possibly during a shower or sipping your first cup of coffee an idea occurs to you how you can add a section to the report you turned in yesterday that your boss wasn't very excited about. While you slept, your subconscious mind worked through the missing piece of your project and figured out a solution. Your gut tells you you're on the right track. You know you can turn the report into something great.
Here's another example of defeat turning into a winning idea. Josh always thought he was better at communicating than any of his friends and basked in compliments about his presentation skills. But he flubbed during a company meeting and came off looking ill-prepared and awkward. His first thought was that his career was doomed. Then, his inner resilience took over. Josh knew that there was a lesson here and he could learn from it so that his future performance would benefit. He acknowledged his misstep, figured out his mistakes and made changes. Instead of being defeated, he was energized and motivated to improve. His next presentation exceeded even his own standards.
Ideas are both delicate and strong at the same time. With loving care and proper nourishment, they'll grow and be able to withstand any kind of obstacle or hurdle, including criticism and doubt.
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