A friend once said that he gets his best ideas when he is in the bathroom doing his ‘thing.’ It may seem funny but truly some of the greatest ideas do not necessarily come when you sit down to think about them.
The truth is that ideas are like the air. They float everywhere and land where and when they will. If an idea floats into your head, in all likelihood, it is not exclusive. It has very likely floated through a hundred other brains and landed in some very unusual places. The difference comes if any of those brains traps it and holds it down. Then it stays and begins to expand. Then as you begin to meditate on it in your mind it moves from just being a fleeting thought to a solid workable idea. Millions of thoughts float into and through our minds but we can only pin down a few. Have you ever noticed that very often a thought passes through your mind and later you find that someone totally unrelated to you is working out that thought as a business?
It has happened to me. Several times in fact. I recall a few years ago, I had an idea to package garri in small packs with sugar and sell as snacks to students. It was a thought, then I developed it into a solid idea, but I did nothing about it. A couple of years later I walked into a shop in my city and I found my idea staring at me from the shelf. The only difference was that it had the name of another person on it. How did he know to do exactly what I had in mind? The answer is that the thought visited him and he caught it and trapped it down, then he developed it and it became a reality. It was no longer mine because I did nothing about mine.
Everything in the world, including you and I, was once a thought in someone’s mind, (We were once an idea in God’s mind too), it is what we do with those ideas that counts. An idea is not more powerful because it came to you in church or in the first class section of the jumbo jet on your way to a major conference in Toronto. An idea is the same whether it comes in the slum or in the palace. Microsoft was once a regular thought. The device on which you are reading this article was once a thought. This website was once a fleeting thought which someone pinned down and turned round and brought to reality.
By virtue of what I do, I frequently crave time alone to think, but more often than not, when I do go away to think, the so-called big ideas do not come. My thoughts seemingly fly all over the place. When I keep quiet deliberately to listen, I find that it is the old thought that come and crystallize into solid ideas. But you truly do not need to get away in order to get good or even great ideas. Becoming the first female President of the United States was once an idea deep in Hilary Clinton’s mind but look where she is today. Even if she does not get to the White House in November, she has shaken society and removed a barrier that was never really there, except in the minds of the people.
Everything starts as a thought. Learn to take your thoughts captive and make them work for you. One of the most powerful tools I have in my arsenal is a small notebook and a pen. I take my notebook with me everywhere, and I sleep with it by my bedside. When the thoughts that have ‘potential’ come, I turn and write it down. If they come in the bathroom while there’s soap in my eyes and I know I can’t write it down, I hold it right there and begin to see it in my mind’s eye until I get out and then I write it down. I don’t catch all my thoughts and ideas, but then I catch enough to keep me going. And I find that the more I do that, the more the thoughts and ideas come.
So whether they come in the bathroom or in the boardroom, take your thoughts captive and make them work for you!