Idea beginnings and endings

The beginning of a very bad idea often feels very good. And the beginning of a very good idea can feel very bad. Even the sharpest intuition is wrong much of the time about where an idea will lead. Sometimes what seems like a great idea at first falls apart as you develop it, but then eventually you find your way through to making it work. Sometimes you don’t.

We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.  -Neils Bohr

Many creativity exercises force you to spend time with ideas, or problems, that seem absurd or uninteresting. Often with enough persistence an idea can transform, invert, pivot, or crystalize into something very different from what you thought it was. That transformation may never happen if you don’t spend enough time getting to know the idea to see where it can go.

But as is always the case with ideas there are no guarantees. Your best idea may lead you for years in a direction that, in the end, is impossible. Other times what seems your worst idea, given enough attention, might be the best idea you’ve ever had.

The only true mark of a creative is someone willing to entertain any idea for a time, to play with it and kick it around, for they know you never know at first glance what an idea really is.

Hat tip: Jessen suggested the vice-versa second sentence

One Response to “Idea beginnings and endings”

  1. Franklin Chen

    I love how you frame creativity as a way of operating, rather than as a result. It reminds me that I think a lot of people fall into either anxiety or hype about creativity because they’re thinking about some short-term result. Like, some people will envy someone who is apparently a fountain of creativity and is a success, while badmouthing creativity when seeing someone come up with a failing idea. That there is so much talk about creativity at all kind of shows how people aren’t just accepting it as a fact, a starting point like breathing, rather than an end.


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