by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
One time it was a
short article I read, another time it was a place I visited, and yet
another time it was music I was listening to. The inspiration for my
essays comes from so many different directions, and, in many cases, I’m
not always certain exactly what or from where it originated. That’s the
nature of my mind. It’s as if I am saying, “So many ideas, so little
Sometimes my mind is unknowingly focused. For example, when I was working on a new edition of my textbook, Communicating Effectively,
10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), and I was searching for a new slant, approach,
or addition that would make the next edition unique (from previous
editions). I didn’t even have to be focusing on the problem when the
solution occurred. In many cases, when I am exercising or jogging,
working on another project, or reading an essay, newspaper, magazine, or
book, what I don’t even realize I am currently looking for, magically
The epiphany —
the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or
meaning of something — comes unheralded and without warning. Sometimes
it is bound with other ideas as if part of the same recipe; sometimes
it is neatly wrapped as a present under the tree on Christmas morning;
sometimes it is random, casual, nonspecific, and accidental. The
process itself is unique and not easily explained.
But here is the
key — maybe it’s just my key, but here goes — I love knowing that nobody
else in the entire world (and nobody out there in the solar system as
well for I like hyperbole at times like these) could possibly be
thinking as I am. Nobody else could have these thoughts, ideas, and
emotions in the exact instant I am having them. Talk about being
fact that somebody else actually could have the same (or even a
similar) thought, idea, or emotion is irrelevant to my thinking in times
like these. Since this thought (that someone could be as unique as I
am in the same instant) contributes nothing at all to my progress and
could even be a bit demoralizing (depressing or deflating?); it never
crosses my mind (except in an essay where I have to be a little more
Why does this
matter? That is, why is this a key? Because it serves as one more
stimulus, prompt, incentive, impulse, or motivation. And here is how it
works for me. I am a thinker (notice, I didn’t say “great thinker”!),
and to know that my thoughts, ideas, and emotions at any given moment
are unique (and, to satisfy my 98-year-old father-in-law’s proclivity
for finding incorrect grammatical constructions, I will say “totally
unique”), gives me the pleasure and satisfaction I need (look for?) as I
use words to build the edifice of an essay or book.
embrace the knowledge that I am a distinct human being with special,
exclusive — idiosyncratic — thoughts, ideas, and emotions. This is what
propels me forward, opens the vast doors of my imagination, squeezes
the core of my creative juices, and focuses the beacons of my vision. I
only wish I could bottle this dynamic energy, find an inspiring name
for the concoction, and market it as a magic elixir.
I looked for ideas online regarding how others capture and use their thoughts, ideas, and emotions, and at the blog Warrior Forum,
the stimulus idea was, “So many ideas...so little time. How do you
manage that?” In response to the stimulus, Gie Grace writes, “Keep a
notebook with you at all times. You may have epiphanies (or light-bulb
moments) when you think of an idea to implement. During such moments, it
is crucial for you to write them down, so you'll remember them later.”
As a response,
too, Michael Newman writes, “I call it ‘the curse of the blessed'.’
It's a great gift — to be able to generate or attract ideas
effortlessly. But, it's a double-edged sword.
record them as advised. Prioritise them and see how they relate to your
business model or lifestyle. How can they help accelerate your growth?
Do you notice a common theme? Concentrate on the most feasible. Focus on
the ones that relate to your passions.
“No one makes money from how many ideas they're able to generate. Real
moolah comes from focus, from concentration. From taking an idea to its
logical conclusion. From testing them in the cold and harsh (and often
loving) rays of fate.
“I was like that. Like a butterfly, floating from one dream to another . . . and another. . . .
started getting results when I decided on the most haunting idea. The
most stubborn. The one that leaves you no peace. The one that fills you
“The key is self-discipline,” Newman writes.
At Ezine Articles,
the essay by Joanne Julius Hunold, “Introverts - So Many Ideas, So
Little Time,” offers several pieces of useful advice. Hunold writes,
“First, get some clarity about exactly how you are stuck. For example,
is it that you have difficulty choosing an idea (which means not
choosing the others) or do you have difficulty deciding which one to do
first? Do you realize you don't have enough time to pursue all of them?
Or perhaps not enough money for all of them? Are you trying to do all
of them at once and hence get overwhelmed? Is it plain old indecision?
In other words, what is stopping you from doing?
“Are you aware of your needs and values? This is a first step I put all
my clients through. In terms of choosing actions, I recommend first
doing the things that satisfy your needs. Then, after your needs have
been met; choose the actions that are most closely aligned to your
get your ideas out of your head: “Once you have your ideas out of your
head and stored somewhere safe (in your notebook) you can stop fretting
about what you have not done. This, believe it or not, frees you up to
act when you are good and ready.”
Hunold writes, “Make it OK to experiment and change your mind. Perhaps
you have a lot of things you want to do because you are curious.”
Finally, she says, “go ahead and enjoy the thinking process.”
I love her last idea, of course. As I said earlier in this essay, I am
a thinker (and fortunately, too, a doer!). And if this essay helps you
de-construct your whole process of inspiration, perhaps, it has made a
contribution. Maybe you just need to stop and meta-observe (examine
your inside activities by taking a position outside yourself!). This,
too, can be a delightful exercise — maybe even one that will prove how
unique you are!
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there is a delightful, pithy, essay, “What Makes Me Unique,” where the
writer talks about “The Paradox of Uniqueness.” This is a short,
thoughtful essay that will challenge you wonderfully. The writer ends
this essay saying, “In your race through life, do you have all the
information and tools you need to express your unique potential and live
an extraordinary life before you run out of time, health, love and
At the Change My Life! website Steve
Thomas has an essay, “I Am a Unique and Special Human Being, It’s All
In the Mind” (May 11, 2010), in which he makes the point, “The very fact
that we have in mind the thought that we, you, I am a unique and
special human being makes us one. Most people have such a poor sense of
self worth, that they can hardly come to grips with a thought like that.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, we are what we think. If we believe
ourselves to be worthless, then we tend to act that way. If we believe
ourselves to be elite, something special, then we will tend to act that
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Copyright December, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.