Too many ideas, not enough lifetime. Maybe it’s not a common problem (or maybe it is; I have no idea), but it’s a problem I think I have.
Perhaps it is not for me to judge and to claim to have too many ideas might sound incredibly big-headed, arrogant and egotistical, but that’s not my intention. If you have another way of saying it, let me know, but if you expect me to say I have no ideas, only bad ideas or the average number of ideas, then I can only truthfully concede the last point as a possibility. Some of my ideas, at least in the past, turned out to be pretty good. I would like to think that the trend can be extrapolated into the future (although that might be wishful thinking 🙂 ).
If I have the average number of ideas, then maybe I obsess about them, with greater passion, than other people appear to do. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Ideas are incredibly important to me. Coming up with ideas is what I like to do best. Like anything that takes practice, the more you do, the better you get at it, because of the number of mistakes you get to make and learn from.
Ideas can turn out to be incredibly, incalculably valuable. Think about Tesla’s method of transmitting alternating current electricity, for example. Nobody can put a figure to how much wealth and value that single idea has brought into being. Luckily, Edison had the idea of the electric light bulb at about the same time. Imagine the world today, without those two ideas.
Fortunately not even a fraction of my ideas are good ideas (still fewer are really good ideas) and the ones that are bad amuse me, anyway. So there is entertainment value, even in the worst ideas.
Focusing on just a few ideas would be good, if only I didn’t feel so attached to all my ideas. Focusing on just one feels like loving one of your children more than the others, to me. I love them all equally.
The right thing to do, I think, is this: honour all your ideas, work on the ones you can with as much energy, enthusiasm and sincerity as you can maintain, keep it up consistently and hopefully one or two of them will amount to something of beauty.
The other thing to do is to give them away to other people. Let them make something of them for you. I’m trying to do that (firstly, through my blogging – I have several blogs), but even that takes time and effort.
Ultimately, ideas take on a life of their own, once aired. You never quite own an idea, it owns you. It also has an incredible habit of choosing multiple people to be its mouthpiece, at the same time. This happens even when the people that elucidate the idea have no inkling of the existence of each other. I have no rational explanation for why this phenomenon appears anecdotally to be so. Patents swim against that tide.
Ideas find a way to express themselves, somehow and my hope is that the best ideas survive, in a sort of “survival of the fittest”, evolutionary way. That doesn’t explain the persistence of some obviously long-lived and terrible ideas that humanity is afflicted by to this very day, but maybe we’re not giving that enough time. Evolution can work slowly.
So, the discipline you need is to not get frustrated at all the ideas that could be, but which need your blood, sweat, tears and toil to come to fruition. We are all limited, to some degree or other, by our mortality. That’s why really big ideas need to be spread. You need a lot of help to get a really big idea to become a reality.
At least I count myself as incredibly fortunate to have too many creative ideas, rather than too few. I don’t think I would like having too few.
How do you feel about your ideas?