Do THEY haunt you, too?
They lurk behind each corner, they wait for you wherever you go… In the mornings, right after waking up, when you drive your car, when you talk to friends, at work, when you surf the internet, before you fall asleep… THEY are everywhere and impose on you – great ideas!
Seriously: As a somewhat creative, smart, actionable person (and I just presume you are such a person… 😉 ), you’re trailed by great ideas. Ideas for projects, for presents, for activities, for businesses, for websites, for books or texts, for creative things, for other jobs… ideas, ideas, and even more ideas.
The biggest challenge in most situations is not to come up with ideas – but to decide which ones not to pursue.
Your whole life is like the Land of Plenty.
Should you do this? Or that? Or something completely different? Something new altogether? And this other idea also sounds tempting? The possibilities are almost limitless – alas, your time and energy aren’t.
But all these ideas and options are just too tempting. Sure, they might not fit your current path in life, your main project, your matter of greatest importance. But they all sound so exciting! How much fun it would be to do them on the side! And surely you can find a wee bit of time for a teeny-tiny side project, can’t you?
Of course, deep down, you know that this isn’t true.
The time you need for half a dozen or even just one “teeny-tiny” side projects is missing for other things: your family, yourself or your life goals. The energy you put into these additional projects can’t also go into an important text or letter, into doing sports or playing with your kids.
Sometimes we tell ourselves that we could combine both: Our current things and our new ideas. And sometimes, in very rare cases, we can indeed integrate a new idea into something existing. But most of the time, it’s just that: A new idea which also requires room in your life.
So it’s decision time: Are your “old” projects and undertakings good and important? Does it feel right to continue to pursue them? Or is it time to wrap them up and start something new?
’cause at the end, you can’t do everything: If one thing is added, another thing has to be removed. Next time you fancy taking up just this small, additional project (only at the weekends, of course, and without taking away from the rest of your life!), then just be honest with yourself and decide what you’re going to give up instead to make room for your new idea.
Most of the times, the perceived importance (or rather, the lack thereof) of a new idea adjusts itself pretty quickly – if you need to make the choice, it’s just not important enough to you to give up something else instead.
But if you have one of THOSE ideas…
… you know what I’m talking about… one of these mad, gripping, big, intoxicating ideas… an idea for which you’d definitely drop most other things… then there’s just one thing left to do: Start with it, and start now!
But with all the other great ideas, you can calmly ask yourself:
Does this idea really move me forward, right now, in what I want to do? Not just in any of the things that I’d “also like to do sometime”, but in my heartfelt goals? Or does it distract me from my real path, no matter how tempting it is?
If an idea is not essentiell for your next step in life (and that’s the case for most of our ideas, no matter how great they might be), then say “thanks” to it for the inspiration and motivation it has given you. And then let it go – great ideas deserve to wait in freedom for the right person, for whom they are a matter of the heart!
The Tempation to Do Nothing
In the title, I’ve chosen the comparison with the Land of Plenty very deliberatly, by the way… The Land of Plenty is like a synonym for idleness, for lazing around and drifting through life.
And even though creative people with drive usually don’t tend to be lazy or idle, this idea-based Land of Plenty sometimes seduces us in a very devious way to become idle and do nothing. While we weigh up options, generate ideas and develop concepts for new projects, live moves on outside. And in the same time in which we plan and develop and think through ten projects, we could also get one of them up and running and release it into the real life.
I’ve fallen into this trap myself more than once. Have planned and designed, instead of just gotten something going. Have tried to decide between several promising project ideas, instead of just moving on with one and thus getting somewhere. And while I’d love to say I won’t make this mistake again, well, you know… there are just soooo many great and tempting ideas out there which have to be considered… 😉
Maybe we should just indulge ourselves from time to time, and for an hour or two feast in all these wonderful ideas we can come up with. Plan them, work them out, and most importantly generate as many great ideas as we can.
And then we let all those wonderful ideas go again and focus on the things which are the most important to us, which are near and dear to our heart, and continue doing what moves us forward on our path.
What do you think?