I’ll always be grateful to former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones for a conversation we had about the important role intuition plays in our life.
We were enjoying a walk/talk on a Maui beach and Dewitt was doing something that puzzled me. We’d go about 100 yards and he’d stop, whip out a little notebook and pen from his pocket and scribble something down. We’d go another couple hundred yards and he’d do the same thing. I finally asked, “Dewitt, what are you doing?”
He said, “Sam, I used to get ideas and think, ‘That’d be an interesting topic for my next column,’ or ‘I should include that in my keynote,’ but then I’d get caught up in other things and forget all about it.
I realized I make my living from my mind. I was throwing away this ‘gold’ being gifted to me. I promised myself I’d start capturing ideas the moment they occurred so I wouldn’t lose them. Now, it’s a habit.”
Exactly. How many times have you gotten an intuitive flash – a whisper of an idea – an intriguing insight – and then gone about your day and forgotten it?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in twenty years of researching, writing and speaking about intrigue; it’s that this is how our best thoughts are born. They POP! into our mind. If we don’t write them down, they’re out of sight, out of mind.
From now on, carry a small notebook with you everywhere you go. Or use Evernote, otter.ai or the voice recorder app on your phone to capture epiphanies when they occur so they’re waiting for you when you want them.
Epiphanies are in their purest form in their original form.
As Saul Bellow said, “I never had to change a word of what I got up in the middle of the night to write.”
We don’t have to understand where these flashes of insight come from; all we have to do is welcome them and honor them. And the way to do that is to ink it when you think it.
You may not know where this insight will fit into your work. Just trust it will.
Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested, “Learn to watch that gleam of light which flashes across the mind from within.”
Actually, it’s not enought to “watch” that gleam of light. If your brain is on fire, you need to capture those cerebral sparks so you can fan them later.
Think of it tihs way, our life is our lab.
When we experience or encounter something that gets our eyebrows up (a sure sign of intrigue); it will get other people’s eyebrows up. If you’re an artist, innovator or entrepreneur; it is your job to notice what intrigues you.
When something “comes to your attention,” it means it’s out of the ordinary. It broke throught the filter and is worth exploring because it is a thread standing out of life’s quilt.
Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of life is to find your gifts, the meaning is to give them away.”
Aha’s are gifts. They are distilled wisdom. Anti-infobestiy. Dots have just connected in a new way. They make life even more fun, meaningful, rewarding and purposeful.
The only rule? If we’re fortunate enough to be gifted with intuitive nudges, it’s our responsibility to record them. If we don’t, the muse gets ticked. She thinks, “I’m giving you gold here and you don’t appreciate it enough to to write it down? I’m outta here.”
The good news is, when you take time to record “Eureka’s” the second they occur, they’ll be there waiting for you days, months later when you’re ready for them. You’ll be in a position to scale their impact – for good.
And when you share those aha’s on the page, stage or screen, they get to serve even more people. They are no longer limited to you, those insights are adding value for others.
Which is why it’s so important to honor the muse and keep the creative’s contract:
Jot thoughts when they’re hot.
Make your life your lab.
Ink it when you think it.
Muse it so you don’t lose it.
You’ll never regret capturing and sharing your aha’s with the world; you’ll only regret NOT doing it and losing the opportunity to make a difference for yourself and others.
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Sam Horn is on a mission to help people create quality communications that add value for all involved. Her books – POP!, IDEApreneur, Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? and SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week have been featured in NY Times, on NPR, and presented to Capital One, NASA, Cisco, ASAE, Intel, YPO and Boeing, Want to consult with Sam or ask her to speak to your group? Contact Cheri@intrigueAgency.com