Here’s Why You Should Never Panic when You Forget an Idea

The creators of Tupperware have a special place in hell.

I’m certain if you calculated the number of hours we all spend rummaging for lost lids in cluttered cabinets and weighed them against the benefits of mediocre microwaved meat, we would have been better off cooking fresh food every day.

The other morning I was lost between Tupper-where-the-heck-is-the-other-half-of-this and Tupper-where-did-I-go-wrong-with-my-life, turning the kitchen inside out to find a round top — no not that round top — the other one.

“Babe, just put it in something else,” my wife said, waiting for me to hand her lunch.
“But it has to be somewhere!”

It wasn’t, of course.

Resigned, I stuck the salad in a second option and kissed Kate goodbye. Once she waved from the car, I turned around to see:

The lid I was looking for alone on the kitchen island.

It had been there all along.

We writers tend to obsess over our tools.

“Oh, you don’t have a Moleskin?” we ask, stroking our own black leather book. “I don’t know how I’d go on without mine.”

This quirk is not specific to my career, of course. In a world where one idea could radically change a life, you understandably cling to fragments of thought as if they were the last life raft. No matter if you are in mid conversation or dinner with a friend, you will gladly press pause on the rest of the world to make room for your genius.

If no instrument is available, you instead direct every ounce of brainpower to repeating the holy idea. I bet you have been here before:

“Don’t forget the thing about Tupperware.”
“Don’t forget the thing about Tupperware.”
“Don’t forget the thing about Tupperware.”

I found a problem with that. Every time I am hell-bent on remembering one good idea, I often miss experiences, conversations, and epiphanies which would have granted me another thousand ideas. Nothing can be placed in a closed fist; nothing can enter a closed mind. Yet we clinch all the same.

I’m not saying capturing ideas is another useless exercise writers do. I own and love my Moleskin. I use Evernote every day. Here is a good question to ask yourself, though:

Why do you doubt the strength of your own mind?

It got you here, didn’t it? It came up with every idea so far, didn’t it? And much like my nightmarish Tupperware hunt, your brain will often go through the same paces more than once — leading you to a place you needed to be all along.

(Almost as if you were meant to be there)

The word to use is trust. Trust your ability to find interesting solutions for your world. Trust your latest idea will not be your last. Trust the Muse will visit again, even if she has gone for the moment.

Trust in you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some kitchen items to throw in the trash.

Why Do Ideas Matter In the First Place?

I’m not entirely sure how this happened…

But one day I became convinced ideas were the key to my future. I believed the more of them I could generate, the more I would earn, gain, and grow.

Guess what?

I was right.

I’ve captured my idea process in a book — The Ultimate Guide to Infinite Ideas — which you can get for the price of an email address.

Get your copy here.