Are You an Idea Hoarder?

Of late, my nights are full of dreams. Most are not worth remembering until last night. A couple had me waking, thinking I should write them down, but then my screw-this-I’m-tired brain took over and put me back into dreamland. Upon waking the final time, I only remembered a shredded photograph of one of the dreams that almost had me writing in the wee hours. I tried to focus on what was in the missing parts of the photo, to catch hold of that inspiration. I had seen the fully formed, moving picture, but it was gone, torn away by time and consciousness.

The advice that “If it’s important, you’ll remember it,” is a message full of hope with no substance. Ideas and inspiration are wild and flighty. Like cryptozoological beasts, even if you see it, no one is going to believe you. But unlike imaginary or even feral animals, great ideas flourish with the right captor.

Seth Godin wants you to steal his ideas because he knows this. Just as another being is never truly yours, so too are ideas. It is hard to give one up when you love it so much. You know it’s great. It makes you better for having known it, but you have not done the same in return. You are not the right captor. Setting it free only leaves it to chance, where it may never be seen again. Sharing it gives the idea the opportunity to find someone who will make it better, maybe even release its full potential.

The amazing thing about giving credit, though, is you never run out. Like ideas, the more credit is shared, the more it can be worth, to the giver and to the recipient.  –Seth Godin

Seeing someone do better than you could with your original concept can hurt. Jealousy and resentment leads to selfish behavior. I am guilty and convicted of that. There is no counting how often I have hidden or buried some magical creation I loved because the pain of someone making it better than I ever imagined was too great. Or at least, that’s what I thought. Until I dug it up to find it dead. Those are just the ones I dared to reveal. How many more lie in the darkness of resentment that I dare not unearth or even think about?

Giving, sharing, and releasing take courage, but they make the world a better place. They also make you better. You no longer have a brain full of mouldering ideas, darkening and filling your mind. You make room to be the keeper of new, fresh thoughts and have a greater chance of creating fantastic things, finding better matches. Environments of sharing cultivate the remarkable. Even if you aren’t the one doing the work, you will benefit. And you will be open for your next great thing, even as you may be nursing your wounded pride.

It is a relationship–with yourself, with the creative world. You have love and longing, hope and dreams. Just like a romantic human relationship, you envision a future together when you capture a great idea. But if all you do is suffocate that idea, no matter how much you love it, it’s not going to grow.

I want to make things better by having them in my life, just like my relationships with people. I’m no master. I’m not likely even an apprentice. At least now, I have potential.

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