Stop Squeezing Your Ideas to Death (Do this Instead)
When everyone around us is succeeding now, it’s tempting to try to immediately capitalize on our every idea. This is exactly the wrong approach.
Too often, I think, we misunderstand what we’re holding when it comes to our ideas.
We treat them as difficult nuts to be cracked, subjecting them to pressure, heat, and force as we attempt to get through the hard outer casing to access the interior.
Rather than unlocking creative sustenance, however, more often than not, this approach ends up squeezing our ideas to death.
It’s understandable why we do this.
When it feels like everyone we look up to is succeeding now, we feel pressure to keep up.
And so we then take that pressure and direct it onto our ideas, attempting to accelerate their growth.
But herein lies the problem.
The value of a nut is not in the small amount of short-term sustenance it can supply as food, but in its long-term potential as a seed.
And seeds must be handled very differently from nuts if we want to unlock that potential.
So too must our ideas.
Like anything in their infancy, ideas–even our very best, most promising ones– implode under pressure.
We don’t expect a single sapling to bear enough fruit to feed us.
In fact, most trees will take years of nurturing before they bear any fruit at all.
And while the timelines may be different, the expectations should be the same around our ideas.
Ideas, like seeds, must be given time and space to germinate, sprout, and anchor themselves firmly in fertile soil.
Most of all, they must be nurtured.
I think we forget that.
That nurturing might take months.
It might take years.
For some, particularly big ideas, it might take decades.
But with some patience and some support, in due time, our ideas will grow the strength and stability to support incredible growth and production.
Until then, however, our job is not to squeeze everything we can from them before they’re ready to bear the pressure.
But to focus on nurturing, providing a safe space for the idea to take root and develop.
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This article originally appeared in my weekly Creative Wayfinding Newsletter, a newsletter about tapping into our internal compasses to find our way to our creative potential.