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Stories from a life in progress.

Idea corral

One thing I rarely have a shortage of is ideas.  My brain doesn’t know how to shut up.  There’s always something going on between my ears, whether or not I’d like it to (falling asleep can be a challenge sometimes, or stopping the train-wrecks when negative thoughts gain momentum).

I’ve been more full of ideas than energy and time lately.  I’m always thinking “oh, I should do that too” and then I don’t get around to the actual doing.  It’s like my mind-savannah is full of idea-wildebeests, so to speak, roaming wherever and whenever they want to go, and I don’t have any good way to capture them.  I’m the bewildered-beast wandering around with a lasso, calling “here, wildebeest, good wildebeest” and hoping to get close enough to snag one.  Now and then I do, and a little bit of progress happens.  But it would be a lot easier if I didn’t spend so much time trying to remember where my wildebeests went.  Er, so to speak.

I have a place to put ideas – a three-ring binder that I use to keep my schedule and reminders.  I have a corral all ready to go.  But do you think those dratted wildebeests ever wander in there?  Where I will happily feed them and water them and make their ideas into beautiful reality?  No.  Ungrateful things.

It’s not enough to have ideas, or to have a handy place where the ideas could go.  You have to corral the wildebeests (so to speak).  You have to put the ideas in a place where you can find them later, without having to chase them down again.

I’m realizing I need a wildebeest wrangler in my head, and its name is Habit.  (It may also wear a Stetson and ride a horse, but I wouldn’t swear to it.)  This is the value of habits: they help catch the wild parts of our minds and put them in order.  It’s hard to force ideas to come -- you can encourage them, but not always make them happen on cue.  Which is why, when an idea does wander past, it’s important to catch it and put it in a safe place.  Maybe it will be useful later and maybe not, at least if I capture it, then I can consider it later.  Maybe it’s not a great idea by itself, but when I put it beside a bunch of other ideas, maybe it will find its perfect match and make hundreds of brand-new little ideas, waiting to turn into some future, awesome thing.  You never know what will happen when those crazy ideas get together.

I’ve got my binder with me today, and I’m reminding myself how important it is to corral my wildebeests when I see them.  Because it’s a lot easier to sort out a corral-full of wildebeests than a savannah-full.  So to speak.