Image from ajourneyroundmyskull
There are no new ideas. When we create, we dig into our well of knowledge and experience, grab a hand full of stuff, mash it up and recombine it in new ways.
But the idea is still built out of other ideas that came before – ideas we’ve consumed.
The quality of our ideas depends only on what we build them from. What we’ve seen, what we’ve heard, what we’ve felt. To have better ideas, we need richer experiences.
But most importantly, like stoking a fire, we must constantly add more fuel to keep the fire vigorous. When we stop, old materials build nothing but old ideas.
What does this mean for the mantra we hear humming beneath all the advice we read online?
The mantra that says: “Don’t watch TV, don’t spend too much time reading, don’t play games, don’t waste time on Twitter. Stop consuming other people’s ideas and creativity – if you want to be successful, you have to produce.”
If you want to have stale ideas, follow this advice. Put nothing in, get rubbish out. Get burnt out. When you burn more creative fuel than you add, what do you expect to happen?
But if you want to build something truly creative and meaningful, do the opposite. Great stuff in, great stuff out.
Watch breathtaking movies and mind-bending TV shows.
Read incredible books.
Listen to great music, with the volume up loud.
Play exhilarating video games.
Study your idols.
Drench yourself in ideas.
Go somewhere you’ve never seen.
Walk to the top of a mountain and breathe in strange and wondrous air.
Consume, consume, consume, and do so unapologetically.
Become a connoisseur of the best things other people have done.
Absorb everything the world has to offer you. Do this for as long as you can bear.
Only then will you have collected the raw materials needed to produce something you can be proud of.