"You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write." - Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow is right.
The biggest takeaway from Emceeing the Maui Writers Conference for 17 years and meeting some of the most inpsiring creatives on the planet, (e.g., Ron Howard, Carrie Fisher, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry) was:
INK IT WHEN YOU THINK IT.
One of our keynoters, former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones, is a walking-talking role model of why this is so important.
Dewitt and I were enjoying a walk/talk on Wailea Beach discussing intuition. What is it? Where does it comes from? How can we leverage it?
Dewitt was doing something that puzzled me. We’d walk for awhile and then he’d stop, whip out a little notebook and pen from his pocket and scribble something down. We’d go another few hundred yards and he’d do the same thing. I finally asked, “Dewitt, what are you doing?”
He said, “Sam, I used to get an idea and promise myself I’d include it in my next keynote or column, but then I’d get distracted and forget all about it.
I realized I make my living from my mind. I was throwing away this ‘gold’ my intuition and the muse were gifting to me. So I started carrying this notebook with me and writing things down the instant they occurred, so they’d be there waiting for me when I’m ready for them.”
Exactly. How many times have you gotten an intuitive flash – a whisper of an insight - and then gone about your day and forgotten it?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in twenty years of researching the topic of INTRIGUE; it’s that this is how our best thoughts are born. They POP! into our mind. And if we don’t jot them down, they’re out of sight, out of mind.
From now on, be like Dewitt. Carry a small notebook with you, or go to the App Store right now and download Otter.ai - a free voice recorder/instant transcription app that captures your Aha’s in real time.
Please understand: epiphanies are in their purest form in their original form. We don’t have to understand where they come from, and we don’t have to know where they will fit into our work. Just trust that they will.
Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested we, “Learn to watch that gleam of light which flashes across the mind from within.”
It’s not enough to “watch” those gleams of light - those cerebral sparks - that flash across our brain, we’ve got to capture them so we can fan them later. When we do, our life becomes our lab.
Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of life is to find your gifts, the meaning is to give them away.”
Please understand, intuition is a gift and so are the Aha’s it delivers.
Aha’s are anti-infobestiy. For whatever reason, new dots have just connected in a new way. We have been gifted with something that broke through our brain’s screening filter and got our mental eyebrows up.
That means it has the potential to get other people’s eyebrows up - to enlighten them or inspire them to see things with fresh eyes.
It is our responsibility to record and share our aha’s. When we do, they are no longer limited to us, they are now serving and adding value for others.
Which is why, from now on, when you are “in the flow of thinks,” promise yourself you will honor the Creative’s Contract:
Jot thoughts when they’re hot.
Ink it when you think it.
Muse it so you don’t lose it.
Make your life your lab.
I promise, you will never regret capturing and sharing your aha’s - you’ll only regret NOT doing it sooner and losing opportunities to scale their impact - for good.
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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker is on a mission to help people create the life and work of their dreams. Her books - POP!, Tongue Fu! and Got Your Attention? - have been featured in NY Times, on NPR, and presented to Capital One, NASA, Cisco, ASAE, YPO and Boeing,