Ideas are like Acorns

Excerpt from David J. Schwartz’s The Magic Power of Thinking Big.

‘Each year an oak tree produces enough acorns to populate a good-sized forest. Yet, from these bushels of seeds perhaps only one or two acorns will become a tree. The squirrels destroy most of them and the hard ground beneath the tree doesn’t give the few remaining seeds much chance for a start.

So it is with ideas. Very few bear fruit. Ideas are highly perishable. If we’re not on guard, the squirrels (negative-thinking-people) will destroy most of them. Ideas require special handling from the time they are born until they’re transformed into practical ways for doing things better. Use these three ways to harness and develop your ideas.

  1. Don’t let ideas escape. Write them down. Every day lots of good ideas are born only to die quickly because they are not nailed to paper. Memory is a weak slave when it comes to preserving and nurturing brand new ideas. Carry a notebook or some small cards with you. When you get an idea, write it down. A friend who travels a lot keeps a clipboard beside him so that he can write down an idea the instant it occurs to him. People with fertile, creative minds know a good idea may sprout any time, any place. Don’t let your ideas escape; else, you destroy the fruits of your thinking. Fence them in.
  2. Next, review your ideas. File these ideas in an active file. The file can be an elaborate cabinet, or it can be a desk drawer. A shoe box will do. Build a file and then examine your storehouse of ideas regularly. As you go over your ideas, some may, for very good reasons, have no value at all. Get rid of them. But so long as the idea has any promise, keep it.
  3. Cultivate and fertilize your idea. Now make your idea grow. Think about it. Tie the idea to related ideas. Read anything you can find which is in any way akin to your idea. Investigate all angles. Then, when the time is ripe, put it to work for yourself, your job, your future.