Where Do Your Best Ideas Come From?

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One of my most enjoyable purchases of 2013 wasn’t actually a purchase at all, it was a donation.
I read Seth Godin’s blog every day and one day he mentioned that he had reserved copies of his ridiculously big and inspiring book, This Might Work, for those who would donate to a cause he was supporting.  So I hit donate and began waiting for the UPS guy to deliver.

There is so much wisdom about life tucked in the pages of this ‘business guy’s book’ that I am adding a whole new category on this blog to share the way Seth is speaking into my life.  Look for Seth Speaks in the categories section of my About page.  That’s the bright coral page you get if you click on the stick pin located on the top right of the Home page.  Scroll down a little and you’ll find  searchable Categories.

On the topic of where do ideas come from, Seth’s list contains 20 suggestions.
I highly identified with six.

In my own words:
I often get a good idea while reading a book.
I once heard a description of Pubs as the place where ideas had sex.  I hope that doesn’t offend you, because I think the metaphor perfectly describes the creation of something completely new when two things come together.  That often happens while I’m reading and what I’m reading triggers a memory or thought and those two together birth a whole new idea.

Getting Out of the House.
Going new places and meeting new people engenders new thoughts and ideas.  We spent five glorious weeks last year traveling around Italy.  I have lots of new ideas for decorating, recipes, fashion, stories, and gardening that all resulted from an interaction with a radically different (and wonderful) environment.  ‘Be Italian’ is my secret theme song.

When I really want a new idea one shows up.
This is a twin to ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.  Being stuck in life, whether in a DIY project or a relationship, provokes me to actually LOOK for another way, a new idea to propel me out of STUCK.

Problems Prompt Solutions.
I don’t have the patience to ‘stew’ over problems.  I want resolution because I don’t have enough energy to handle the emotional drainage that taps out my energy reserves.  Focusing on the problem with an analytical eye instead of an emotional response gives me clarity and a solution.

Taking a Walk opens the floodgate of ideas.
We all know this, but exercise helps us think more deeply and more broadly.  It relieves stress and it feels like opening a window on a beautiful day in winter.  It’s bracing and refreshing.  For me looking at the beauty of creation only amplifies this experience, the colors & creatures of the world around me are a gift.

Ideas are Peripheral not Head On.
My Psychology professor told us to try and remember things from the corner of our brains, ‘think about it from the side’, she’d say, ‘don’t try to come at it head on’.   The same holds true with good ideas.  They don’t make command performances, they just drop by while I’m unloading the dishwasher or folding towels.  Moral of this tale: keep note pads handy.  

 A thought is an idea in transit.

Aristotle

Where do your best new ideas come from?

2 Comments on “Where Do Your Best Ideas Come From?

  1. Great ideas, my biggest thing I need to remember is to write it down when it comes, so often I have a thought “I need to remember to write this down later.” I don’t know why I think I can remember this when a trip to the store without a list often leaves me kicking myself when I come home. Hence, I need some notepads around the house!

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