Have you ever had an idea arrive in your brain already finished? Like a “download” of an invention, a book or movie idea, a song, or a solution to a vexing problem?
And maybe you thought, “That’s weird. I just suddenly got the entire plot structure of a three-volume novel set in Ancient Greece.”
Perhaps you dismissed the idea.
Perhaps you even punished yourself for having the idea by thinking, “I don’t know anything about Greece, or novels, for that matter. In fact, my fifth grade English teacher said I couldn’t write. How stupid of me to even imagine I could do such a thing.”
More likely you made a little mental note about it, but took no action.
I have an important news flash for you: Don’t Refuse the Delivery.
Ignoring an idea download is like getting a package addressed especially to you, but instead of opening it and seeing what’s what, you send it back, throw it out or just let it molder on the doorstep.
I don’t know how or why ideas appear to us like that sometimes. I’ve heard all kinds of theories ranging from daimons to past lives, from psychic transmissions to the zeitgeist and the collective unconscious. It’s a mystery how and why ideas appear.
But what I do know is that those ideas carry with them a special magic.
They are an invitation for you and you alone.
By paying attention to them, you will grow in new ways, learn new things, transform your world and possibly transform the whole world. After all, every significant piece of art and literature, as well as every invention, started with an ordinary person having an idea.
You will have a number of perfectly valid concerns – let me name a few:
- You’re worried that it’s not a good idea. There is no way to tell if an idea is “good” or not until you start playing around with it. So remove the pressure of good and bad, and tell yourself that you’re just experimenting.
- You feel utterly unqualified. Don’t worry that you feel utterly unqualified. Everyone feels utterly unqualified. Trust that you know enough to start.
- You’ll worry about the end of the process at the beginning. You’ll worry that you don’t know how to get a literary agent, or that your idea will be stolen. Don’t. You will learn what you need to know as you go, and your teachers and guides will show up as you move along.
- You think you don’t know how to start. Of course you don’t know how to start – you’ve never done anything like this. Just noodle around a bit. Spend 15 minutes on it every day. Consider it a meditation, an intellectual exercise, a chance to let your mind play around.
- You need to stay alert to supportive signs and signals. It’s amazing how often a good idea is accompanied by the unexpected means to produce it. You know – the morning after the historical novel idea pops up, you discover that your new neighbor is a literary agent with a passion for the Stoics. Stuff like that happens all the time.
- You need to be careful with whom you share this idea. We all have people in our lives who demonstrate their affection for us by being discouraging, dismissive and even insulting. They think they are helping to keep you safe. So be judicious about sharing this idea, especially in the early stages, and don’t go looking for treats in the empty cookie jar, OK?
The nice thing about welcoming the ideas that arrive Special Delivery is that you may find more ideas following along. Taking action on ideas tends to cause more ideas. And having more ideas increases the odds that someday, you will land on an idea that changes your life.
Trust that even if you end up not seeing this idea all the way through, you will have honored the creative process by showing up and trying your best.
P.S. Highly Creative People, or "HCP's" as I like to call us, are the most underutilized resource on the planet. Together we can change that because the world needs our unique talents and genius, and there's no time to waste.