If you let them, they’ll take you on an adventure you weren’t expecting
Ideas are like the snowflakes falling down from the sky in every direction.
You don’t know where they come from, or which direction they might go next. They could start out going one way, and then take a sharp turn when you least expect it.
They’re wild creatures — wandering free, heading in whichever direction the wind blows them at that moment. They have no care in the world. They’re doing their only job: falling.
It doesn’t matter where they end up. They know they’ll eventually come to find a resting place, and that’s what allows them to fall so effortlessly. Whatever that resting place may be is okay with them.
Sitting at my desk this morning, watching the snow swirl around outside my window, I had the thought, what if we could treat our ideas like snowflakes?
If each one became like a mini adventure, a journey of exploration and discovery and growth, wouldn’t our lives be more interesting?
If we could approach each idea with curiosity and playfulness, rather than fear and mistrust, what a difference it would make in our lives!
You Can Start Anywhere
A conversation with a friend helped bring this to life for me yesterday.
She was telling me about something she cares deeply about. It’s very personal to her, having gone through difficult times in her life surrounding this topic. She feels compelled to share her experience and her knowledge in this area by writing about it so that others may benefit from it, but feels overwhelmed and doubtful.
I think a lot of us feel this way. There’s something that speaks to us, and resonates deeply with us, but we don’t know what to do about it, so we don’t take action.
“I really want to do this,” she said. “But how do I start? Where do I start?”
I thought about it for a moment, and then realized that it honestly doesn’t really matter. “Whatever comes to you first,” I said. “Just write about one piece of this big subject at a time. Break it down into little chunks, with each article being its own piece of the puzzle.”
What I’m learning is that you don’t have to do something in a perfect sequence. It doesn’t all have to be in chronological order before you can start.
Just start somewhere — anywhere.
Our paths in life often don’t make sense until much later on, and I think ideas work the same way.
Pick One And Go With It
The more we talked about it and brainstormed, the more excited and inspired she got — and the more excited I got as a result.
That’s the thing about ideas; there’s an abundance of them! They’re everywhere we look, in every aspect of our lives. There is an endless supply of inspiration, if we just pay attention.
The trick is to pick one, and then do your best to follow it all the way down. If it bends at the last minute, then bend with it. Just go with it, and see what happens; see where it takes you.
If you’re a writer, then follow that idea all the way down the page, or all the way through the book, until it feels like it’s been emptied out. If you’re an entrepreneur or designer or other type of creator, then follow that idea to the first action step it leads you to, and then take that action.
We don’t know what kind of journey an idea will take us on, but it’s likely to be an adventure — and those are the best kind.
Write What You Know
That’s also why the popular writing advice of write what you know is so helpful and makes so much sense. We are each living our own lives, and each of us are experiencing our lives differently.
We’re all passionate about different things. We’re all moved by different things. We all see things differently, feel things differently, think differently, love differently — everything about us is unique.
We can all write about the same topic, and chances are, if we write from our hearts and tell the truth — our truth — no two pieces would be the same.
The best part is that there’s room for all of them — and all of us.
I agree with that wholeheartedly, and I also think that our ideas play a huge role in that journey.
One Idea At A Time
“Love the one you’re with,” is a concept I’ve learned through meditation.
All it means is, don’t fight whatever is appearing now, in this moment. Instead, follow it. Go with it. Trust it.
Be brave enough to give it the floor, and see where it leads. Experience the journey it takes you on. There’s a reason for why it appeared in the first place.
Whether it was a thought you just had (like the one I had this morning about snowflakes being like ideas, swirling around in the world), or a feeling, or even an emotional reaction to something that just happened — it’s happening for a reason.
Find out why.
Write it down, and then explore it. Allow it to take you on the inward journey.
My preferred methods of exploration are usually writing and meditation, but yours may be different. Do whatever feels right for you.
Look Around You
What about those times when you’re not fighting through a blizzard of a million different thoughts and ideas all swirling around and hitting you in the face at once?
What if there’s not a single snowflake falling that day? What if everything is silent, still, and barren?
Most of us know what that’s like, too. We’ve all been there before.
Sometimes it can feel like we’re in the desert, desperately searching for an oasis of ideas to save our lives.
But even in the desert, there are things to write about. Each grain of sand is another idea waiting to be uncovered. We just have to look around, and keep looking until we find something. Turn in another direction, or sit down in the sand and you’ll have a new vantage point.
Take one more step, and something you didn’t see before may now become visible.
It may only be visible to you — but that’s okay. It came to you for a reason.
Take it as your first clue to finding your way back to the oasis, and then keep following the trail.