What If?

Life CoachElizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, believes that ideas are magical, energetic life forms that float and swirl around in the atmosphere, waiting to be claimed by a human being below.

One of these energetic life forms flits past you as you go about your day, and you get the spark of a creative thought in your mind; an idea. It could be about anything: a phrase for a potential poem, a landscaping plan for your front yard, a solution to a problem at work, or even a more efficient way to load the dishwasher.

You stop and marvel at your idea for half a second, and then resume what you were doing. And most of the time? That idea is gone forever. “And so what?” you might think. “It must not have been that important.”

But what if it could have been?

What if Margaret Atwood had felt the flutter of an idea about a dystopian novel, and just shook it off and focused on folding her laundry instead? Goodbye, A Handmaid’s Tale. What if Valerie Thomas had let her creative thoughts slip away into nothingness? Maybe we wouldn’t know about the dangers to the ozone layer.

No, not every idea has the potential to create a significant impact on the world of literature or science. But there are plenty of ideas that float around you that could significantly impact your life. The problem is that you need to catch them before they blow away and are out of reach.

Whether you believe ideas are independent entities drifting above you, or created internally by your mind and spirit, know that they are fleeting. Try keeping a notebook with you, or use a notes app on your phone, and see what happens when you jot down your random ideas for a few days. You won’t want to see all of your ideas through—and that’s perfectly fine. But take a look at the list you accumulate and take a look at all the potential and creativity you’ve created just by capturing your thoughts and ideas. Then maybe pick one or two to investigate further.