Every morning I take the dog out for a walk for an hour or so. No earbuds, no phone, just a book under my arm, a pencil in my pocket and a poop-bag in my hand.
Some of the best creative ideas I’ve ever had have come to me in these first hours after waking, watching my French Bulldog* puppy coerce a golden retriever thrice his size to wrestle. (he always loses.)
*We think he might be a mut.
My point is, I walk home with endless marginalia scribbled in the book, along with the flyleaf covered in other ideas that might be good for ‘when I get time.’
The critical problem with this is, if I do the calculation on how much time I actually have to attempt all of these ‘brilliant’ ideas, I really only have time for 20% of them- and that’s if I’m really disciplined. (I’m not.)
For that reason, it’s important to not be precious about ideas that seem great but don’t really serve your big picture goals as a creator. (You have to work out those on your own.) To that end, you need to give up being precious about those ideas and be able to simply let them go — or better yet — share them with a friend or collaborator for whom you think it would be a better fit.
We’re all here for a fleeting blip of time; You’ll never read all the books, blog posts or loyally commit to all the ideas you have in your lifetime. You may as well share good ideas with interesting, talented people instead of letting them slip back into the ether to land on someone else’s ever-growing To-Do list.
Pruning your ideas to dedicate your time wisely is a skill that takes years to develop, but pays off in spades once you get good at it. I’m not sure anyone ever quite ‘masters’ it, but cultivating the ability to say ‘no’ to good ideas that don’t serve your wider purpose is one of the most invaluable skills you’ll ever possess.
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