When inspiration strikes and a new idea or a concept seems to magically float out of the ether and lodge itself inside of our brains, we tend to do either one of two things; we blurt it out carelessly to anyone and everyone who will listen and ultimately diminish the idea’s magic before it has even had chance to fully form OR we guard and protect the idea as if the fate of the Universe depended on it, and in doing so we strangle any potential life out of the idea before it has even had chance to fully form.
There has to be a better way to nurture ideas, but often our previous experiences dictate how we respond to inspiration. If we have had ideas stolen previously then our natural tendency is to protect new ones like a lioness protects her cubs. If we have watched our ideas come to nothing because we failed to act on them, or even worse watched someone else take a similar idea and make it work – then we tend to throw our ideas out there faster than a deer running from aforementioned protective lioness.
When I was just starting out in my writing and television career I wrote a film script, adapted from a comic book story, about a young boy who inherited the old football boots of a former legend and the kid was magic when he played in the old boots. I spent a year or so writing the script, obtained full rights to the idea from the original comic book and then presented it to the top executives at the TV company I was working for. There was great interest and long discussions about how to move the idea into the next stages of development and production; and then not long after that the executives moved on to ‘better’ jobs within the industry and nothing came of the script.
Until, that is, an actor friend informed me of the role he had landed in a film about a boy who inherits football boots from a former legend and the kid is magic when he plays in the boots. I got hold of a copy of the script and it was identical to mine, with very minor changes. I was devastated. Devastated.
I got legal advice. I had done all the right things to protect the idea originally but was nevertheless informed that to take on the ‘big boys’ was going to be a lengthy, costly and potentially fruitless pursuit. I had no choice but to drop any action.
I stopped writing for about four years, and it took me another five years to ever trust my ideas to anyone again. Then eventually and after much suffering, something dawned on me. I had continued to fill sketchbooks and journals with hundreds and hundreds of ideas, I had written entire scripts that were just sitting there doing nothing and going nowhere. It became evident to me that a lack of ideas wasn’t really the problem, in fact ideas were totally abundant. I also realised that the beauty of an idea is neither in it’s eventual success, nor where that idea ends up going or what it becomes. The real magic is in the moment of inspiration itself. It’s in the trusting and celebrating of the creative process and not in the outcome.
There are millions of unpublished books, songs, scripts, and poems out there that are potentially even better than the ‘stuff’ that makes it into the public arena. This is exactly the same for millions of unseen works of art, sculptures, doodles and sketches. The fact that they may not have been ‘successful’ from a commercial perspective doesn’t invalidate them in any way, especially if their creation and gestation was enjoyed, or even endured fully by the artist at the time.
Ideas are abundant. The more you allow through you, the more that flow to and through you.
So why is this? Should we not be precious about our ideas, protect them devotedly, after all are they not our children?
Without getting too cosmic about this, the reason that hoarding stifles while sharing enables ties in with an ancient universal law rather ironically ‘stolen’ and rebranded for the modern day and known as The Law Of Attraction. While much of what has been recently written about this subject is ‘commercially’ polished and edited, the gist of the content is essentially intact, and that essence is ‘thoughts are things and you get back what you put out there’.
If you put ideas out there, sharing them freely, helping others to achieve success in the process, then you will receive similar energy and flow in return. You are basically subconsciously saying to the universe ‘I trust that there is an abundance of ideas and that there are always more and better ones available’.
If you stifle, hoard and protect your ideas feeling that you and only you created them yourself then you will find your creativity wanes and ceases. By hoarding you are saying subconsciously to the universe ‘ideas are few and far between, I must guard the ones I have before the flow stops’.
Don’t take my word for it. Try it. See for yourself. As my kids have learnt at school and repeat with great sincerity to me on a daily basis ‘sharing is caring’.
Of course it isn’t easy to build up that level of trust initially, it took me years after what happened to me with my script but now I have learnt to have absolute faith in the abundance of thoughts, ideas and concepts and it truly never ever fails me.
The next thing to work on though might be our expectations of what we consider ‘success’ to be, for that is where happiness and ultimate success lies. Is it in the ultimate financial realisation of an idea or the beauty and innocence of it’s conception and creation? Well that’s an entire other post in itself, but hey that’s my idea don’t nick it and write it before I do!