Where do ideas come from?

November 6, 2018

A great idea may be the most sought-after thing. It can trigger a moving story, great art or lead to a  discovery which can make our lives more comfortable.  This means that it pays to generate more of them and more frequently.  We know very well that if some people are factory like in the production of ideas there is a vast majority for whom, life never offers new ideas.  We often find that children get more fresh ideas than the grown-ups.   As we grow up, perhaps we shed our ability to imagine the alternative scenarios. We seldom choose the road less traveled.    We are satisfied with the status quo more and more.  But the reality is that we are ever more in need of new ideas to tackle the myriad problems of the world we inhabit.

Now the question is, how do we generate new ideas? How do we trigger the imagination of people? This is all the more relevant in our schools and colleges.  Our young generation with a lot of energy seeks new challenges and newer methods to solve.

What if?

In this interesting essay,   Writer  Neil  Gaiman takes us on a small tour of the techniques of idea generation. It holds important lessons for us.  The most important thing in generating ideas is that we must be ready to ask simple questions. He tells,

the most important question is just, What if..?  What if you woke up with wings? What if your sister turned into  a mouse?

Apart from such questions related to creativity, we can always ask such What if questions in every aspect of our life.  It’s an attempt to imagine a different possibility.  The world changes for the better when we are able to imagine different possibilities.  In India, we are not unfamiliar to this What if questions.  What if the British had never come?  What if India was never divided?  What  if  India had a single language?  And so on and on…

If only?

This is the second question which Neil prescribe for us. Similar to What if, If only too hold immense possibilities.  Try to ask that question frequently in your situations.   When we are face to face with the hard realities of life, pose this question to you.  If only the world were more equitable? If only we understood each other better?  If only we created opportunities for all to enjoy this beautiful world? In the remaining part of the essay,   Gaiman goes on with his engaging discussion on the many ways to boost our power to generate more ideas.

So here it is, the link to this interesting piece of writing from Neil  Gaiman …




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