How many of you have been doing something routine — commuting to the office, going for a run or maybe walking the dog — and an idea comes to you? It’s a great idea, and the more you think about it, the bigger it gets and the faster your heart beats because there is something about this this idea that not only sounds right, but feels right too. The idea is like a shiny red balloon that you keep filling up with great big, creative air — and the more you focus on your idea, the bigger your shiny red balloon becomes.
“I should write this down,” you think. “I should really do something with this.”
But you don’t. Instead, you move onto the next routine action in your day — and that shiny red balloon slowly deflates and withers away into some universe of spontaneous creativity where it started.
Imagine, for a moment, if some of our greatest inventors had let their balloon deflate. What if Alexander Graham Bell decided that the idea of transmitting sound via electricity wasn’t an idea worth pursuing? What if Alexander Fleming didn’t make the effort to grow some extra mold in his laboratory in 1928?
Thanks to Fleming, we have antibiotics that successfully combat infectious diseases across the globe. And 131 years after Bell’s invention of the telephone, Steve Jobs brought his vision for a touchscreen smartphone to life, and introduced the iPhone to the world.
Every invention, innovation and movement that changes the world starts with one thing: an idea. And here’s the best part about that one idea: it doesn’t have to be fully baked for you to get started. Maybe your idea isn’t clearly defined. That’s okay. Keep putting pen to paper until it starts to look like something that is. Maybe your idea is a side gig. That’s okay too, as long as it’s a side gig that reinvigorates your creativity and dares you to stop running on autopilot.
See what I’m getting at here? For most of us, our problem is not a lack of ideas, it’s acting on those ideas. Big ideas often have small beginnings. You simply have to begin! It’s blowing up your balloon and then letting it go out into the world to see what’s possible. What about you? What’s your shiny, red balloon? What first step could you take now to make your idea come to life?