What will you be thinking in an hour? In a day? In a year? In 50?
You might have some idea what you might be thinking, but you can never be too sure. You can think something in the lines of – well, in one hour I have to start thinking what I’ll get for lunch, so I’ll be thinking that. And this is how precise it gets. You don’t know what options you’ll be thinking about, besides – something else might come up and you won’t be thinking about food at all.
And some days you might feel like you’ll never get another good IDEA again, or that all the good ideas are already taken. But as much as you can’t predict your own thought – it is impossible to predict your own ideas – big or small. Because, if we could, we’d make attempts to think it all out – but we’re simply not ready for certain ideas to emerge, yet. I recall NNT brought the same thing up regarding future technologies (and these, too, are ideas!).
So, what might it look like? White Swans, Grey Swans, Black Swans are slowly building up, growing, if you will, inside your head. This day I think they feed on your experience, and they are ready to emerge when just the right threads of experience finally get together. You get the burning bush effect – you’ve been fed a set of problems and at one point, like a flash of light, you come up with a brilliant solution.
Maybe a part of what makes Big Ideas rare and so valuable is that they are a 100% unattainable ahead of their time, and ahead of accumulated experience. Maybe this perspective helps you value your own little head more – take care of it well!
But most ideas we get are just random noise; and when we’re desperately seeking for ideas, sucking ink out of the pen, so to say, what we appear to be doing is pushing up the noise levels and see what we can grab from there. We generate something meaningful-looking out of the noise – usually something that can be packaged and sold well, but doesn’t have a long lifetime – tiny flames of an idea, usually ephemeral in their nature.
Then there will be moments when you have a Black Swan of an idea – always it will be unexpected, so loud, so crystal clear – and getting it out from yourself will be so easy – you’ll most likely be fluent in your expression. That rare moment of self-surprise!
Here’s one reason I think we might successfully discourage ourselves from ever getting any good thoughts again: because we can look back, see how our ideas come to be in hindsight – we forget that how our futures will unfold isn’t necessarily symmetrical (or in trend) to how it already has been unfolding. But somehow, maybe due to our dearest wish of stability and predictability, our prognosis, like with many other aspects in our life – is that the occurrence of rare thoughts will continue in trend or go in a symmetrical fashion to what has already been.
Looking back, we can very easily explain how one or other idea came about, what triggered it, in some cases you might even be able to understand what pieces of your life experience contributed to it – and you might even realize it’s rare because not everyone has had such a collection of experiences… And that might push you to do what you shouldn’t – try to replicate the same or similar experiences and then come up with a new, better idea… For some reason, very rarely, it could work – who am I to say it wouldn’t – but I also happen to think, “the future ain’t what it used to be.”
I’ve also noticed when I try very hard to come up with new ideas (either for tweets or the blog or some other art stuff), it’s all bollocks. I went on a long walk last weekend and it was like a bad trip – I was torturing myself over not coming up with any surprising ideas! Although – that session in itself could have contributed to what I am typing down now – some ideas about ideas – why we can’t know what will work on us and why we can’t know which ones will be personally-exciting ideas.
Now, if we can’t even predict our own ideas, our own thought – in comparison – how silly it becomes to think we can predict other people’s thoughts, or the behaviors of masses, how the market moves, and for what reason the next big thing becomes the next big thing. Just like a new movie or a game surprises people every time, or how wards stretched longer and longer in the past – there will be thoughts in your head, small and innocent seeming, that will change the course of your life (should you act on them), there will be ideas which bring you deeper and deeper into subjects you formerly were clueless about even existing.
Here’s a difficult point – we do so much more hard work generating something out of noise when we don’t have our crystal-clear ideas. We work harder on the noise-generated content than we work on our Black Swan ideas – it looks unfair – they payoff for a beautiful yet ephemeral creative idea will be a fart; the payoff for a Black Swan of an idea – while not guaranteed, the upper limit remains unknown.
This very idea – unpredictability of our own ideas – didn’t seem to want to let go of me until I wrote it down here. So, they might have that characteristic to them, as well – they keep you up at night until you get it out (or, as in my case, make you get up at 6AM to get it out on the blog). Some ideas just will be bigger than you and they have the power to make you act on their whim, I guess!
Anyway, if I didn’t get it all out, I guess I’ll be thinking some more about it.
But until then, good morning, friends. o/