August 16

 “There is no such thing as a new idea. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.” – Mark Twain

You’ve probably already had the brilliant insight you’re looking for. You just weren’t ready for it.

Imagine what it would be like if every time a surgeon went in to perform an appendectomy she started from scratch. She just forgot everything she new about performing surgery, and instead picked up a textbook and started reading about the process, how to use the surgical tools, how to make an incision, etc. It would be silly and impossible to do so, right?

Yet when we solve creative problems, you probably often do the exact same thing. You have an entire library of experiences at your fingertips, yet how often do you leverage them?

There is something I call the “creative trash heap” and it’s full of old insights, ideas, and solutions that might have been valuable, but just weren’t right for the situation. These discarded ideas fill your notebooks, your files, your hard drive. They are just looking for the right situation to be used. But you will never re-discover them if you don’t routinely make it a practice to review your notes and mine them for gems.

I encourage you to spend some time today going back through some of your old notes and project notebooks to see what hidden gems are in them that you’ve long forgotten about. You might find just what you’re looking for to help you solve the problem you’re stuck on. 

Question: How can you establish a practice of regularly reviewing your old notes and ideas?

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