I Will Build Something Great…Once I Get an Idea

Everything starts off with an idea. If I want to create a YouTube channel, I need ideas for a video. If I want to build a business, I need an idea of what I’m going to sell. If I want to write a book, I need an idea of the story that I want to write.

It’s pretty hard to execute anything without some starting idea. That’s one of the reasons why I hate all the entrepreneurial hustle porn which yells at me to “Just Start!” And it reminds me stuff like, “You’ll never be ready. It’ll never be the perfect time”. Umm excuse me, if I had an idea for a business, an app, or movie, then of course I would be working on it! But where do I get these ideas from?

Perhaps ideas are from a complex process that we just attribute to luck? I was listening to the IndieHacker’s podcast recently where Courtland Allen did an interview with CoderPad founder Vincent Woo. Vincent touched on this subject a bit. He mentioned that almost any engineer with a moderate skill level could have successfully built the company just as well as he did. He attributes the majority of his success to being lucky; lucky that he got hit with the right idea at the right time. As to how it happened, he wasn’t sure. Where ideas come from, and how neurons are fired to create a thought is a whole other mystery.

But see, I endlessly feel trapped in that initial stage of creation. My mind can’t seem to generate the right ideas, when I need them. I spent the past four months brainstorming video ideas for a YouTube channel. In all, I generated a measly list of two things during that time period; neither of which were things that I really liked or felt any internal drive to do. But of course, I woke up one Saturday morning and my mind said to me, “Oh Dave, here’s a cool idea. You should try making wine sundaes for dinner tonight” (Which came out really good btw). Does this mean that I’m secretly an alcoholic? Or is my mind just not getting any sparks for other ideas?

I’m aware that there’s some level of connection between your environment and the ideas you generate. When you pretty much live the standard life like I do, you probably won’t be exposed to new ideas. Essentially, you got to go out and get involved with novel things and then somehow neurons will fire in your brain and an idea will emerge. To be honest, that hasn’t been my experience so far. But yet, I have also been stuck indoors for the past six months (thanks covid-19).

All fo this reminds me of my favorite quote from Viktor Frankl:

By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system