I realized the other day that ideas have a life-cycle. Like house plants + banana muffins. Somehow, I always thought ideas were timeless, life fairy tales + McDonalds french fries.
As I was franticly going through every item on my grocery list to double check I wasn’t missing any of the ingredients to make my infamous granola recipe, I became aware that ideas have stages – from aha moment to launch, and everything in-between.
Sometimes, ideas live inside a forgotten Moleskin journal. Other times, they are planted in fertile soil by dreamers.
Ideas get stuck quite frequently too, in decision paralysis + overwhelm + rejection. Some, never make it to the sun. Others, beat the odds.
Today, I set out to map out the cycle of an idea. Here goes.
“Look who’s finally decided to show up? Miss Epiphany Fairy! Where were you? I showered. I called. I text messaged you. Gimme a sec to get my notepad, I wanna write everything down!” This is the initial spark.
The magical place where you suddenly can’t stop thinking about your idea. Once lightning strikes it becomes an addiction. You’re in Disneyland. You’re seduced by the rush. You can’t shut up about it. You daydream about all the possibilities. You tell your mom, “Mom, I’m gonna be a millionaire!!!”. Wait you’ve never called your mom to tell her you’re gonna be a millionaire? Right. Me neither.
The big commitment. “I’m serious you guys!” proclamations. The day you sit down + take a deep breath + look at your idea + tease it apart + open your calendar + map out a plan to make it happen. The plan sucks, most likely. Will probably get rewritten 107397344 times, but who’s counting? The ball is rolling. I love rolling. Rolling feel freaking amazing. And you know what happens when you feel great? Exactly! You do great sh*t. Starting is sublimely revolutionary.
The rough patch. The low point. The moment when things stop being exciting + fun, and they start being, how can I put it lightly?, a pain in the ass. The place where you find yourself asking, “Is it really worth the hassle?”. According to the bestselling author Seth Godin, what really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly while staying focused + motivated when it really counts. This is the tipping point of all ideas, either you quit or you conquer.
Alright, it might not feel like “WORLD DOMINATION” yet Pinky, but if you’ve made it this far you’ve already done something remarkable. You are part of the 1% who didn’t drop off when it hurt. You won because you didn’t give up too soon. The challenge now is to surface new milestones. Maybe it means bundling up a blog series into an e-book. Perhaps it’s turning an digital guide into a hard cover coffee table book. Or it might mean developing your very own app. Whatever it is, you’ll figure it out champ.
. . .
The other day I saw a headline, “I’m just here tinkling the ivories: Eccentric British pianist plays piano to blind elephants at the top of Thai mountain.” I’m serious, don’t you EVER let anyone tell you your ideas is too crazy, that it can’t be done. This guy hauled a piano up a mountain to play music for blind elephants for God’s sake! Sometimes crazy is the only way epic is born.
Our extraordinary capacity for imagination, to dream better, has given rise to the most far-fetched ideas that have taken us from caves to the moon.
Blaze on supernovas. Blaze on!
In what stage of the idea cycle are you in? Tell me in the comments.
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