What's the Big Idea?
One way to flex your idea muscle
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~ Carl Sagan
Q: What is creativity?
A: The ability to generate or recognize ideas, possibilities, and solutions.
Q: What is inspiration?
A: Being mentally stimulated to do or feel something (especially creative).
So how can you develop more creativity and inspiration, and flex your idea muscle, assuming you feel the desire to do so? Here's one specific suggestion that may help.
Try to be surprised, or awed by something every day.
It can be something you see, hear, feel, or read about. It can be something as mundane as a car in a parking lot.
Or clouds piled up one on top of the other.
Or the haunting eye of a root staring at you.
Or a sunset on steroids.
Or the wisdom of your pet, the way it studies you, loves you.
Or the experience of the infinite love of your child.
Ideas are the result of our experiences. The more creative and inspired we allow ourselves to be, the more we invite ideas into our lives.
In her excellent book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert shares her perspective about ideas:
"Ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners. (I’m talking about all ideas here—artistic, scientific, industrial, commercial, ethical, religious, political.) When an idea thinks it has found somebody—say, you—who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention."
Gilbert says we don't typically notice these ideas because we're too consumed in our own distractions and other stuff, and we aren't open to inspiration.
"The idea will try to wave you down," she says, "but when it finally realizes you’re oblivious to its message, it will move on to someone else."
Don't let your idea hitch a ride with someone else.
Be receptive and on the lookout for the magic out there that wants to ride with you. Once it senses your willingness to engage, serendipitous things begin to happen.
A personal example of serendipitous things happening to me was when I encountered a Black Wolf in Olympic Valley, CA on June 17th, 2019.
I knew it was an auspicious moment, so I took a photo (above) with my shaky hands. At the time, it never occurred to me how magical this encounter would ultimately be. More on that in a minute.
Ideas are like this Black Wolf. They stumble across your path and make it exceedingly obvious they're there. Your spine tingles, your mind whirls, and your pulse quickens.
"The idea will not leave you alone until it has your fullest attention," says Gilbert.
This Black Wolf had my full attention.
"And then," Gilbert continues, "in a quiet moment, it will ask, 'Do you want to work with me?'"
From my personal experience, I decided to work with this idea.
The Black Wolf stood still long enough for me to take its picture.
That photo led to a 2-year transatlantic friendship... and ultimately marriage on September 10th, 2021. We currently live steps away from where I first encountered the mysterious Black Wolf (not far from where the photo of us, above, was taken).
My life literally changed and improved with a little magic on the mountain, from an idea that got my attention... and from an idea that asked me to work with it.
Inspiration isn’t the exclusive privilege of poets, artists, and other creatives. It has a way of visiting anyone who simply pays attention, just as the Black Wolf made its presence known to me.
Allow yourself to be surprised and awed by things. Make it a daily discipline and practice of being a better noticer. By doing so, you invite ideas, inspiration, and other magical things into your life.
From the Lake to the River... From the tree tops to the mountains... From the expressions of pets to people... As the poet J.D. McClatchy said, "Love is the quality of attention we pay to things."
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” It could be in the galaxy above, in thrilling landscapes, in art, architecture, music, dance, a story - or something incredible within.
If we're after more creativity and inspiration... if we want to secure bigger ideas... it's infinitely helpful if we make it a practice of being surprised or awed by something every day.
I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a premium ghostwriter and photographer. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any awe-inspired photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, or just call or text at 530.608.9150. Let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email: email@example.com.