This quote from Allison Vesterfelt in her book Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage is all about those ideas we get when we are off running, having a good shower, and just relaxed enough to let our mind create. Vesterfelt writes, “That’s the thing with ideas. They start small, somewhere inside of you, and nothing will happen with them until you finally speak them out loud. We hold on to ideas for years sometimes, because we think they’re meaningless, or impossible, or that people will laugh at us when we tell them.” For me over coming the fear and doubts of my ideas has always been a challenge. I have always had plenty of good, difficult, adventurous, and meaningful ideas, but fear, doubt, and apathy have seemingly kept me from even speaking my ideas many times. A current idea with ideas is to tell everyone you can about your ideas. To open up to people you know, strangers, and the world to tell them you plans, desires, and ideas. This forces you into action because you have already told everyone what you want to do, how you are going to do it, and why this idea gets you excited. The fear that stops us seems to be the fear of failure and the fear of having everyone see our failure. We hide in a caccoon with our idea silently working it over in our mind in the hopes that we become huge successes, but hedging our bets by not telling anyone our ideas and plans so that if things don’t turn out, no one else sees our failure.
I have recently been playing with the idea of opening up to everyone about my fears and insecurities. I have wanted to hang out with a group of friends and say things like, “hey, so I always feel like I should be doing more, and like I am always trying to reach a new level of good enough, do you guys all have this same pressure?” I want to speak to people who I would consider more accomplished then me and hear about their struggles, and I want to talk to people who I consider myself to be more accomplished than, and tell them that I frequently feel like I am not skilled enough to match the idea of success that I have in my head. Too often we look at others and compare our lives to the awesome Facebook lives of our friends. The refrain I tell myself is not to always compare my every day cuts to another person’s highlight reel, because after all, we only put our best selves out there on social media for all to see.
Getting back to Vesterfelt’s quote, I think the real thing is to just be aware of your ideas and to find a way to act on them. Maybe not all of them, unless you really really want to be the one to produce that toaster-fridge (see the Clockwise Podcast Episode 71), but definitely act on the small ideas that can snowball the change that you want in your life. Tell others about your plans to volunteer, to write more, to start learning about astrophysics, you never know who may also be interested in the same thing, and who can point you in new directions and build new bridges and connections for you. And once you start telling people who share common interests, they will check up with you, and hold you to your word to help give you more motivation to actualize your idea.