I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that one of…
Why Didn’t I Think of That?
I often struggle with the notion that I need to come up with a “great idea”. One that’s going to revolutionise my work, or the industry I’m in. I want to show people something they’ve never seen before (or at least in a completely fresh way).
I spend a lot of time thinking about stuff, exploring other people’s projects and admiring some amazing cleverness out there.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the frustrating refrain, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?!”
But yesterday something clicked that simultaneously inspired me and set my mind at ease.
People don’t come up with ‘Great Ideas’. People come up with ideas.
I come up with ideas all the time. But what do I do with those ideas? That seems to be one of my personal traps… I often look at them and think, “Well, that’s not a ‘Great Idea’…” and put it aside.
I’ve realised that if I just sit around waiting for the ‘Big One’, I’ll wait forever… always making excuses and second guessing myself more and more.
In contrast, when I have an idea and I begin following it to its realisation, a whole world that never existed materialises around that experience. Sometimes it just fades away in the planning stages; but sometimes it comes to fruition.
Keeping yourself in the practice of Conceiving and Executing, Conceiving and Executing, Rinse/ Repeat is possibly the most important factor in constantly rejuvenate your mojo.
Now I can say (honestly) that none of the projects I’ve done so far have been ‘Great’… Yet.
But how will I know when something special comes along unless I make an effort to get ideas out in the world? Many of these inspiring projects I drool over probably began as a very simple concept. But there was a certain momentum that inspired another and another.
It seems that some of the ‘Best Ideas’ are often the simplest… Like this one where photographer Ben Roberts documented OccupyLondon’s camps. It’s brilliant and beautiful. It tells an amazing story and it was simple. You can see it here. As a portrait photographer, what resonates with me is being able to see so much human-ness in photos with no one in them.
I think maybe an idea doesn’t become great until it’s finished, and you stand back… and look at what you’ve created… pleasantly surprised that it became a ‘Great Idea’. Maybe it’s ‘greatness’ resides in the value or impact it gives the people it touches.
Maybe the ‘greatness’ in Ben Robert’s series simply resides in our ability to identify with something deeper within ourselves.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the issue (for me), but one thing I do know for sure… I need to spend more time making my ideas happen and not worrying about ‘greatness’.
It’ll get there. But it’s a skill like any other. Time and patience and practice… With a dash of clarity and self understanding…
With all the right elements, something ‘Great’ is bound to come out.
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