A few months ago, I had e-mail correspondence with someone I barely know who asked if I ever watched The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch. When someone comes by with a little tip like that out of nowhere, I pay attention. My experience shows that there is probably something I need to see there. So I responded that I had not, and thanked her for the referral. I watched some episodes, and I enjoyed the show. I also noticed an interesting phenomenon.

On the show, one of the main things Donnie Deutsch does is to try and get insight with each person featured on the show about exactly where and how they got that big idea. This makes total sense because that is the name of the show, after all, so people really should expect that question. Nevertheless, each time he asks it the person pauses for a moment and looks as if they are processing that question and aren’t quite sure what to say. As if they are saying to themselves, “Hey, that is a good question, where did that idea come from?” And, it is a pertinent question because essentially Donnie is trying to educate and coach people in his audience to find their own big idea and go for it.

I think the reason that the question is difficult is because when people have a great idea, they are often fully engaged in whatever it is they’re studying at the time inspiration strikes. They just know that they were busy following their noses, uncovering clues, letting one thing lead to another, and it all seemed obvious at the time…until they get this question anyway. Then they want to be able to tell others how to do it so they try and retrace their steps.

Creativity is something that we all have if we can open to it. I think the first step for someone who is just sitting there with no idea at all but desiring one is to remove all barriers to getting into the flow of creativity. Creativity can’t occur while sitting in judgment of every thought that pops into your head. One has to open and be comfortable with the creative process. Some people are very good at tapping into their creative source consistently; others might have to be reminded to let go and play a little.

Begin by exploring things that catch your eye, just follow your nose a bit and see what happens. Once you have gathered some info, give yourself a rest and see what your wonderfully creative mind cooks up. When you feel a little kick of enthusiasm, you may be on to something.

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