Don’t Refuse the Delivery

Don’t Refuse the Delivery

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:

  1. 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.
  2. You feel utterly unqualified. Don’t worry that you feel utterly unqualified. Everyone feels utterly unqualified. Trust that you know enough to start.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Think you might be a Highly Creative Person?

Too Many Ideas Much?

Too Many Ideas Much?

One hallmark of the Highly Creative Person is that they have a lot of ideas, all the time.

And there are too many people walking around saying that they are “not creative” when what they really mean is that they are not artistic. And by not leaning in to their creativity, they are depriving all of us of their special kind of brilliance.

Let’s be clear: there are plenty of Highly Creative People who are not in the least bit artsy. You can often find them in the lab, the library and the coder’s lounge.

So what, exactly, does it mean to be creative?

The Latin origin of the word means “produce,” and eventually it grew to mean, “the ability to produce original and unusual ideas, or to make something new or imaginative.” (

A non-stop flow of original ideas all the time is one of the hallmarks of the HCP.

Take this brief self-assessment:

  • I have ideas all the time.
  • I have ideas while I’m working on other ideas.
  • My ideas wake me up when I’m sleeping.
  • When other people share their ideas with me, I immediately have ideas about their idea.
  • I find it hard to prioritize my ideas.
  • I have a shoebox/storage tub/entire spare room filled with notes about my ideas.
  • I have way more ideas than I could ever implement.
  • I have ideas that are far outside of my expertise (for example, I have ideas about designs for clothing, even though I have no training or experience in the fashion industry.)

Did you answer YES to more than five of the eight?

Congratulations, you are a Highly Creative Person. (Don’t believe me? Take the quiz right here and see for yourself!)

Having a lot of ideas is not a character defect.

Having a lot of ideas does not make you flaky, ADD, ADHD, uncertain, indecisive, lazy or a dilettante. It simply means you have a lot of ideas. It’s a symptom of a very active brain that makes a lot of connections between a lot of things a lot of the time.

And if you feel your excess of ideas is most often met with bewilderment, remember that only 10-15% of the population qualifies as a Highly Creative Person. So the remaining 85% of the planet does not live inside a 24-hour Idea Factory, you know?

Nevertheless, you probably are experiencing some guilt over all your un-done ideas.

It might comfort you to remember this:

  • Not every idea is a good idea.
  • Not every idea is a mandate.
  • Not every idea requires immediate action.
  • Not every idea needs to be done by you.
  • There is no expiration date on ideas. It’s never too late.

You are allowed to enjoy your ideas without feeling pressure to implement them. You can think of exploring your ideas as a brain game – a wonderful way to prevent boredom and mentally stretch yourself. (I once knew a fellow who spent six straight weeks working on the ultimate way to commute from one seaside town to another. He finally invented a sort of combination jetpack and kayak. His detailed specs for this unlikely creation are hilarious and sort of mind-boggling. Such fun.)

You don’t need to be precious or overly-protective of your ideas, but you should have a way to capture them. A journal by your bed, index cards in your purse, a voice memo or note on your phone – any way that is easy for you both capture and retrieve them is the best way.

NOTE: don’t pass by the “retrieve” part of idea storage. Make sure you title and date your ideas (maybe even color code?) so you can find them again. Bonus points for having a filing system.

So stop punishing yourself for your lovely, imaginative, innovative, fun-loving flow of ideas, and start celebrating your delightful, and Highly Creative, brain.

Are YOU a Highly Creative Person? Find out now!