Winning at ideas

by Greg

I’ve recently returned from a holiday with friends where we played a lot of cards. I’m the kind of card player who needs the rules explaining every time because it’s been so long since the last time I played. I always enjoy it, but I’ve noticed that no matter how skilled a card player you are (or think you are – it’s all random right?) no-one can predict or control the wild card or the ‘trump’. The ability to use a pre-determined card or cards that transcend the normal order of things and change the course of a game in one fell swoop. At times it just doesn’t matter how well you craft the cards in your hand and play them strategically against your opponent(s), if somebody is holding a trump card in their hand, you are rendered useless and left wanting, unless of course you’re the one holding them. Ha!

In a creative process, a good idea can feel like a trump card. At times they just come, randomly and unexpected. Other times it’s a graft with no rhyme or reason. Why is that? What makes one person have better ideas over another? Do they just have more luck? I doubt it.

My hunch is that being able to continually have good ideas is less about waiting for the right hand to play, and more in playing and reading the game, over and over. Those that can continually generate great ideas, from what I can see, don’t just wait for them to happen. They observe the world in such a way that every observation has the potential to inspire an idea at any time. Banking both conscious and subconscious thought. It’s never an accident, although how many times have you heard “it came to me in the shower…”!

Is it just about awareness? Creating space both physically and mentally to allow ourselves to connect our conscious with our unconscious? It makes perfect sense that the more we observe the world around us, collecting micro observations along the way, the less likely an idea will come randomly.

It makes me wonder about all the ideas that I’ve not connected with and have passed me by. I’m guessing quite a few.

Where do your ideas come from?

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