This post is about ideas. Ideas are nifty things-- we create whole worlds inside our brain holes using ideas. We can make things, do things, start revolutions! Or, we can be like me, and have a lot of ideas and do a lot of nothing with them.
On Seth Godin's blog on January 2nd, he said that saying "here, I made this" is difficult and frightening. For me, saying I made something is easy. Saying I'm going to make something is mortifying!
Those of you that know me will wonder why I say I find sharing my ideas so frightening when I do it so often. You'll be amused to find out that I share a lot of ideas with you, but the ones I think are really good are the ones I keep under tight security. It's not a fear of plagiarism or idea-theft. It's a fear of my idea fizzling.
I often say that when I share my ideas with the world, they lose power. I've felt this way for a long time, but I didn't start articulating my feeling in this manner until about a year ago. I have given a lot of thought to why this phenomenon exists... I always hear of people sharing their vision and bringing it to life, I hear of think-tanks getting together in great salons to discuss making the world a better place and actually making it happen. And then there's me, sharing an idea, watching it fly free, like a butterfly-- and be eaten by a bird. Or a bat. Let's go with a bat. (I like bats).
The best answer I can come up with is that when I share an idea with someone, I have just created an expectation. I'm a master of projection, so I acknowledge that the expectation I've created is my own. Next time I see that person, I'll feel obligated to provide them with an update, whether they asked for one or not! I've also created a framework for my idea. So let's say my project starts out exactly as I described it, but then I'm struck with a flash of genius, rendering my original idea obsolete. Do I change the idea, or do I stay the course, worrying the while about what other people will think of me? Neither! Haha, no false dichotomies for me! Instead I just abandon the whole project because the existential crisis is too much to bear, and in my mercurial melancholy I've likely latched on to another project by then anyhow. I think it's a function of a person's security... The likelihood of taking a shared idea to completion is directly proportional to the confidence a person possesses. On a more metaphysical level, perhaps sharing an idea gives all of the creative energy into putting it into words... perhaps the Universe accepts your creative energy as you speak your creation, and then you don't have any left for the material creation.
I hate to make all of these self-deprecating posts, but it's so necessary. I'm not trying to be sneaky and put myself down to fish for compliments. I'm not trying to lower your expectations in order to more easily dazzle you. I'm just trying to be authentic and vulnerable, all in an effort to find out who Melephant is. I don't think that journey will ever be complete, but along the way maybe I can help someone else find out something about their own self. Also in the spirit of realness, I really want pudding right now.
So, think about your ideas. Give some thought to the ideas you choose to share, and then deeply ponder the ones you don't. Examine your reasons for not sharing. Instead of an "assignment" for the comments section, I'll leave you with my favorite quote from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (emphasis added):
If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.