From zero to many
In my process to setting up “I Have So Many Ideas” I hit many levels of having ideas: from zero to too many before realizing there was a sweet-spot for action. Having no ideas, or just a few, is uninspiring – nothings appeals to taking action and you might feel frustrated of having no ideas. The other end of the spectrum is having too many ideas, though I don’t feel it’s the amount of ideas, but rather the amount of unmanaged ideas in your head that causes what I call “madness”: you head is full, you don’t know where to start and it’s frustrating because you feel the value of your ideas but are powerless to the insanity that causes it.
About having no ideas
If you’ve read this before, you can skip this part. In 2015 my wife and I attended a lecture given by Dutch astronaut André Kuipers, who stayed at the International Space Station for 6 months. I enjoyed every word and image that was presented and a childhood memory came back to me.
Fearless Women: NASA Astronauts From The 2013 Class. The Class With The Highest Proportion Of Women At 50%
This childhood memory didn’t make sad, it did make me wonder how having ideas work. Because, as far as I know most kids have vived imaginations and a multitude of ideas. I think that is how the innocent mind works: seeing the world, interpreting the options and do endless experiments to see what works and/or solves your problem. Coming up with ideas for the experiments is of vital importance.
At what time, and for what good reason, are kids unlearned to think that way and adopt pragmatism in stead? The amount of passive screen-time many kids currently take on will not help either. I don’t want to hash on about the importance of being bored and going on adventures (outside)… well I kinda said it all there.
Epidemic of pragmatism
The epidemic of pragmatism leads to many 40-somethings wondering “is this it?!”, 30-somethings with “now is the time for change!” and the 20-somethings with “I’m gonna do it differently, screw pragmatism…”. Generations before me (I’m 42 at the moment I write this) are mostly complacent: “that’s just how it works, we had to do it, you gotta make a living?!”.
The other end of the spectrum: too many ideas
Having no idea can be blissfully ignorant perhaps, having too many ideas frustrating and borderline madness. We live in a world with infinite possibilities and if you have a fast thinking mind, it’ll crank out idea after idea for experiments and problem solving hypotheses. If this is unmanaged and exceeds the sweetspot for action, the mind overflows like the house of a hoarder. There’s 3 things you can do from there:
- Give up, you’re spirit is buried under a pile of ideas, occasionally new ideas will come up but no excitement anymore.
- Get angry, you’re spirit is stuck in a loop of anger and frustration. Nothing gets done, nothing changes, new ideas will come up but make you even more angry.
- Take a step back and clean up the mess, never let it come to that anymore.
Marie Kondo is an professional de-clutterer and organizer, one of her messages is: things that you need to keep, need to have their specific place to store. In other words: put things back in their place. One way of doing that with ideas, is to write it down. Just keep a notebook and pen with you and write them all down, nothing elusive about that. If you want some extra help, I’ve created a template to extract ideas from your head onto paper: a place where they belong.