So I raise an eyebrow when someone says, “I don’t have any ideas!”
It is not that we don’t have ideas. It is just that we don’t listen closely enough to the ideas that are bubbling inside our minds. Our minds are constantly chatting with us; giving us thoughts, suggestions, stories, possibilities, etc.
Observe little kids. They are machines fueled by ideas in their minds. Whatever the mind says, they will do it – often times without hesitation. As time goes by, the ideas don’t go away. Inside, what happens is that they are kept quiet by rules, decorum, indoctrinations, and – interestingly enough – education.
Our ideas go from a noisy chatter to a soft whisper.
To make matters worse, we live in a noisy world. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be so deafening that it drowns out the little voice in our heads. Imagine that, we can’t even listen to the voice that is closest to our ears.
Here’s what I think we need to do:
- We desperately need to quiet down. We need to isolate ourselves once in a while, take a break, sit down, and listen to ourselves.
- Search for a time when our mind is the loudest – on the toilet seat, while driving, in the gym, just before bed, while reading, while talking to people, while listening to lectures, or whenever it may be.
- Seize the moment by having a notebook handy (for the cool kids, a smartphone). Write whatever ideas we come up with, without censoring. Go nuts.
- Sift through these ideas. We might actually find something valuable amidst these ideas.
A bulb might light up.
This is a simple exercise, but pretty soon I think we would realize that we actually have ideas. We just can’t hear them, or maybe we often times choose not to listen to them.
Perhaps they are too ridiculous, too embarrassing, or too farfetched. Perhaps it is easier to just admit that we don’t have ideas, as opposed to dealing with these ideas in our minds that “aren’t any good”.
We sometimes shortchange ourselves too much. We underestimate what we have to offer to the world, and we rationalize our way out of doing some amazing things.
We just need to listen, and listen closely to the ideas in our minds.
Who knows, there might be a cure for cancer in there somewhere.