Disappearing Ideas: Capture your creative bursts

English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco...

English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you noticed that when you are thinking about moving, all the ideas about decorating your new place flow, but when you move, you forget everything?  The same thing happens in the car and in the shower.  It seems to happen everywhere and at random moments except at the exact moment you need it.  This is a real big deal for writers.  Whether you are writing a personal development blog or the next big blockbuster screen play, ideas are the life blood of creative thinking.  The “bad timing” of ideas may be a matter of mental flow and outside influences.  For example, I get a lot of my ideas while running.  Usually I’m listing to podcasts or audiobooks and focused on nothing but running and listening.  My brain is flooded with positive brain stimulating endorphins at the same time I’m being influenced by motivational and idea filled TED talks and podcasts.  The shower is another unique place in our daily life where our mental focus changes from what’s being “thrown” at us to slowing down and not thinking much at all.  Most of us have showered thousands of times and don’t need any mental energy or focus whatsoever to complete this task.  Driving to work and often even grocery shopping is similar in this effect.  Although the level of mental focus needed for these simple, mundane tasks varies per person and task, these are opportunities for your mind to tap deeper “creative” sources in short bursts.  This is different from a “flow” state in which you are building upon one of these ideas such as hours of easy creative writing.  I am talking specifically about ideas coming at you in bunches.

Good ideas are gifts from God not to be wasted or filed away for safekeeping.

     What do you do with these ideas? Anytime the “idea gods” throw their wisdom your way, capture, capture, capture.  I utilize square space notes (attached to my Evernote account) on my iPhone for quick idea capture on the go.  Notepad, or good old-fashioned paper works as well.  Do not wait any longer than it take to safely stop and capture the idea.  It will disappear quicker than it appeared.  The beauty of capturing the idea for future use is that it frees up your mental RAM energy to dig around for more ideas.  If you find yourself coming up with ideas in a certain setting, take advantage of it.  Repeat as necessary. Of course, these ideas are useless unless you intentionally create time to do something with them.  Bad timing, as I wrote earlier, is better than “no timing” or no ideas.  Write, build, create and inspire with your ideas. 

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Have A Beginner’s Mind

As a distance runner, I have never competed against anything but myself and the clock.  My first real event was the 2011 Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach California.  My goal was simply FINISH, FINISH, FINISH.  The idea of a respectable finish of two hours was not in my plans.  I did, however finish with a two hour and 31 second time without really trying.  That is not where the story ends, though.  After several events over the past few years, I have never been able to duplicate those results.  Whether I blame it on injury (not really, but a great excuse nonetheless), or lack of training (no way!), the fact remains that I ran that February morning in 2011 with a  beginners mind.

Kids marathon (17)

Kids marathon (17) (Photo credit: carlaarena)

 Author Dan Miller, in his 48 Days to the Work You Love, tells us “in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few”. In life we run into beginners who bring energy and possibilities everyday.  They are in the Spring Training mode of life.  The possibilities are great, but they aren’t yet playing for keeps.  We also meet the “experts” who bring a lot of experience, and with that, some measured success. For many experts, their success traps them in a “yesterday” mode, unable to change with the environment.  They “know what they know” and it’s got them this far.
For those of us seeking our own personal “awesomeness”, success comes from being extraordinary.
We all have met the know-it-all guy.  He is easy to spot.  Most likely, he’s still at the base of the mountain of success.  You and I are already ahead of him.  We are already halfway up the mountain struggling to see the peak through the fog. This isn’t about him.  This is about you and I.  A beginner looks at every possibility without making assumptions.  The “expert” assumes he’s exhausted his opportunities and moves on. Be intentional to avoid these limiting assumptions.  They are closed doors to possibilities. you are intentional depends on you.  Journaling, logging opportunities for future review, or conversations about decisions with partners, help challenge your assumptions.   Leverage your experience to approach difficult situations.  Most likely you have faced many similar challenges with success.  Work backward and reconstruct those success.  Read my article on being intentional . Be intentional and make this happen.  Don’t forget that there is always possibility.

What one assumption are you going to challenge today?

Rocco De Leo

How I Ran My First Marathon and Didn’t Die

Running 26.2 miles seemed so far four years ago. Actually, it still seems far, but not impossible. Some people run because they like the physical results (ie, weight loss). Some people enjoy the competition. I, however, like running for the sake of running itself. I prefer dirt trails, but any kind of mileage, road or trail will do. Just don’t put me on a treadmill or a track and I’m good.
Five years ago I was fat, out of shape, and newly divorced. Never being much of an athlete, I didn’t know where to start. Today, I have a trophy case full of medals, and all the confidence in the world that I am healthy and can face any challenge that comes forth. I lost 60 pounds and am nearly back to my high school weight. I feel great!
I wanted to get into shape, and wanted to look good. The gym was always to crowded and I was afraid of falling off a bike. A friend challenged me and encouraged me to start running. My first run was half a mile and hurt like Hell. My second run hurt a little less, and by my third run I was running over two miles and was hooked. Now I regularly run 4-10 mile runs without much trouble and can successfully navigate long 20-25 mile trail runs when I’m in the mood.
Here is a sport that takes no training, no special equipment, beyond $100 shoes, and no talent to start. Strap on your shoes and hit the road. Some tunes make some runs more fun, yet the sound of silence broken only by the birds singing as the sun goes up on a morning run add just as much enjoyment. I put off a Marathon for a few years, thinking that was way beyond me. Finally, after 2 years of running I signed up for a half marathon. So many people are intimidated by the idea of any “official” event. My message to you is have no fear. Runners are friendly and encouraging. Speed is not important. Just run…go out and run…If you need to walk, then walk. I completed a couple half marathons and felt ready to run a full marathon. I ran my first marathon about a year ago, and my second six months later. I have ran several non event runs that are close to marathon length since then.
Running is like any other challenge in life. You have to really want it. There’s no magic pill or trick to make you a “runner”. The only thing you need to become a runner is to run. Getting to marathon mileage, in my opinion is more desire than strength or talent. I once heard a seasoned runner say “running is 90% mental and the other 10% is mental”. That means you have to persevere and challenge yourself. Don’t listen to the voice in your head telling you to sleep in, or the weather’s not perfect, or…or….Get off that couch and run. You will thank me later.