Just since I began recording some possible subjects for future essays (my latest list)—about 3½ months ago, I have generated 122 topics. One problem I have is getting ideas on the list when they occur to me, since I don’t always have the list with me. From that list, only about 5 of the topics have been converted into essays thus far, but I have used the list often to see if a topic appears there. The topic for this essay is not on the list. I always generate far, far more topics than I can write about, hence the title of this essay, "Too many ideas, not enough time."
Just to give you an example of what I am talking about, let me reveal some of the topics that I have generated over the past several months. They appear here in no particular order:
1. Turning over a new leaf
2. Dealing with the impossible
3. What are the basic human obligations?
4. Temporal happiness
5. Identifying your passion
6. Importance of knowing who you are
7. When in doubt . . .
8. What does commitment really mean?
9. What does your legacy really mean?
10. Kissing frogs
11. Developing conscientiousness
12. The importance of looks
13. Permissible shortcuts
14. Finding your purpose
15. Thank your mentors
16. Settling your debts
17. Thinking differently
18. The effects of low self-esteem
19. The spark that makes a difference
20. How far can you go?
21. Signs along the way
22. A life of subsistence
23. Strategic pessimism
24. Going solo
25. The knock-out punch
26. Betting on yourself
Now, think about it, my actual list of topics is about five times longer than just those listed above. When I was re-writing them (above), it sparked my creative juices. There are so many I would love to write about right now—but I don’t have the time!
I loved what Tama J. Kieves (the first reference in the additional readings attached to this essay) said about having too many ideas: "It’s a blessing to be creatively abundant." There is no doubt this is true, and I’ve never been one to disparage in any way the fruitfulness of my brain—or any brain for that matter! I have never drawn a blank when it comes to generating new ideas, and when I am looking for one to write on, too many appear, but not enough time!
I have written extensively about creativity in a book that I consider to be the cornerstone of my philosophy of life. In You Rules - Caution: Contents Leads to a Better Life! (And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2008), in six chapters, I discuss the benefits of creativity, the characteristics of successful, creative people, how the creative process works, establishing the kind of life in which creativity will flourish, becoming immersed in a field of study, and how to capitalize on flow. If your goal was to become a creative person or to enhance your already-present creative abilities, this section of this multi-faceted, motivational book will make a clear and vivid difference in your life.
What I have discovered regarding having far more ideas and not nearly enough time, is that I enjoy being involved in a plethora of stimulation. It not only engages my mind, but it preoccupies my thinking, buries me in contemplation, absorbs me with consideration, and saturates me in motivation. Sure, you could look at it as overstimulation; however, my view is that this saturation of information galvanizes, activates, fuels, and inspires. I am most excited when my brain is electrified. It is a refreshing, revitalizing, and restorative tonic that rouses and energizes.
When I thought of this topic for an essay as I was jogging, I couldn’t wait for all my exercising rituals to end so that I could get to the computer to transform my thoughts into words. I was charged-up. And, even now, as I am bringing this essay closer to a conclusion, I have gone way beyond my time for lunch because I am into the "flow," and I have to capitalize on the moment for generating this verbiage. I have the topic, the interest, and the time!
Perhaps, you have experienced this yourself. Too much taking place in your brain, too many ideas coming forth unexpected and unannounced; too much stimulation that you don’t want to break in or stop the process—the flow.
When I am involved in the preparation for a new edition of my textbook, Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), I experience this same feeling. My whole body moves into a mode of operation. It’s like having overdrive in an automobile. My senses are peaked, my awareness is charged, and my motivation is difficult to restrain. I long for the outlet—the opportunity to create.
When I can bring to a project (an essay or book), all that I am, and then infuse that with the energy and creativity that serves as a catalyst for my productivity, the end product, based on my history and products of the past, is not just of high quality, but there is quantity, too. That is how I operate; that is how it has worked; that is what I know.
This is not a new or recent phenomenon. I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t the case. For example, while I taught at Bowling Green State University, I would meet weekly with Howard W. Cotrell, a professor and representative of the Instructional Media Center on campus. His first contact with me had to do with visiting my large lectures. There, he would take notes and make recommendations in our weekly meetings regarding greater teaching effectiveness, the better use of instructional materials, and any additional suggestions on the delivery or substance of my lectures. It was one of the best professional relationships I encountered at any point in my entire collegiate career.
One thing that happened during our weekly meetings, especially as they evolved over the many years—nearly 22 total—that we met, was the generation of ideas for possible academic publication. Together, we would serve as idea generators by thinking of brainstorming new ideas, working off the comments of each other, and, basically, sharing in a mutually beneficial creative endeavor. Together, we co-authored more than 30 published, academic papers. But even then, our publication record came nowhere close to the number of potential ideas that we wrote down. There were so many ideas, but so little time!
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Tama J. Kieves, author of the book, This Time I Dance! Create the Work You Love,
At Stepcase Lifehack
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Copyright January 31, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC