Do you act on ideas, or encourage them to fade away?

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt so hyped up about something that your brain was buzzing with ideas?  So many great plans rush around your head and you can’t wait to start actioning all this great stuff.

And then?

And then nothing.

The initial excitement seemed enough to enthuse you to work on all sorts of projects.  The reality is different.  The rush disappears pretty quickly.

I’m not just talking about world-changing ideas and genius inventions.  Anything that inspires you is liable to disappear if you forget how it made you feel.

As a student, I had difficulty with this.  A LOT of stuff was exciting.  Every five minutes I’d feel involved in a big idea and I needed to drop everything.  Yeah, drop everything until the next big thing came along in another five minutes.

I still get this and I think it’s impossible to do anything different.  But I don’t let go of ideas that give me a huge buzz until I’m sure it’s not worth my time.

Why is it so easy f0r ideas to fade away and how can you give them more chance of moving beyond an initial idea?  Let’s explore some of the issues:

original photo by Isa's Photography

original photo by Isa's Photography

You have too many ideas

Classic problem.  Everyone thinks about stuff all the time.  You have more big ideas than you realise.  But you’ve got to drop some. A handful of big projects is manageable.  A forever increasing supply may feel safe, but it stops you working on any of the projects.  Go with your priorities and biggest ideas.  Unless it’s time sensitive, everything else can wait.  If it is time sensitive, but not a big deal, is it really worth your time?  Be brutal.

Forgot what you wanted to do (i.e. you didn’t write it down)

Slap yourself on the wrist and learn for future brainstorms.  The whizz of ideas in your head is nothing compared to those ideas written down.  Once you’ve noted the idea you can delve further without fear of forgetting what went before.

Idealised more than realised

You were excited, but it feels more like a pleasant dream of what could be.  “One day,” you think, not committing to anything.  If you’re happy not to go further, so be it.  But regrets come easy if you brush too many great ideas aside. Don’t forget that.

You ignored so many gaps/flaws, the plan now looks unworkable in reality

Fair enough, you went too far in a ‘perfect world’.  But before you scrap it all as a big joke, take another look.  How could you fill some of the gaps without going crazy (or doing something illegal!)?  It may not be as ridiculous as you think.

photo by Joel Bedford

photo by Joel Bedford

Following up the initial idea seems too much work (or you don’t have enough time)

Are you still interested, despite the lack of time?  If so, what activities can you afford to remove from your busy schedule to make way for time on your big idea?  You have just the same 24 hours in each day as anyone else.  What once seemed important may not be as important as your new plans.  So long as you don’t jump around aimlessly from plan and plan, a change in priorities can give you a fresh view.

Excitement has gone. Not the big deal you thought it was

These things happen.  You haven’t lost anything.  The next great idea is around the corner. You know it! 🙂

Fear of failure

Tried and failed? At least you tried.  Didn’t try at all?  Then you’re stepping in to “what if” territory and the possibility of regrets further down the line.  You owe it to yourself to push past the fear.  Many situations fail without complicated or embarrassing consequences.  When you do 100 things and succeed once or twice, it’s bound to be better than doing nothing at all.

Lack of others championing the idea now

Ideas can come from groups.  It’s easy to get swept away with the emotion and the passion shared with those around you. When they’re gone, you need self-belief and a personal drive toward the end goal.  If you’re lacking in enthusiasm, remember how you felt when you initially embarked upon things and why it felt so important.  Imagine how your efforts could help others or make a difference that counts.  You don’t need constant appreciation to realise your plans, but you do need a constant view in your mind of reaching the end goal.

photo by Janine

photo by Janine

Critics have pushed your ideas down a notch (or three)

I recently said how easily critics can crush you.  But how much better do they know?  Constructive help is fair enough, but random criticism is pointless.  Anyone in the public eye has to deal with loads of criticism, much of it throwaway, basic and opinionated.  They won’t stop doing what they believe in, so why should you?

Seems like too much work for too little gain

Stepping back a bit, you may be right.  What looked simple may not be the blessing you thought it was.  However, do consider if you can make that gain using an alternative method that’s less painful.  There’s often a way.

You need support, but don’t believe you can get it

First, you’d be surprised how much support is out there.  Second, have you considered all the types of support available?  You can get support other than just money and people power.  Third, what makes you so sure the support won’t be forthcoming?  Fourth, if that’s the only thing getting in your way, you’d be crazy not to at least try for some support.  Stopping at this stage would be like giving up at the last hurdle when you’re at your fittest.  My advice is keep going until you’ve tried to clear that hurdle with your best effort.

How easy do you find it to act on your ideas?  Do more fade away than you’d like?  What do you do to stay inspired?