How do good ideas come about?

We cannot predict who will be the next Mozart, the founder of the next Google or the next Coco Chanel. In fact, you may be one of the readers or one of the readers of this article. However, the most important thing is not to miss the opportunity to have good ideas – so take a risk.

Imagine a work of art, for example, Picasso’s Guernica, Toni Morrison’s book Amada, or scientific discoveries such as Einstein’s theory of relativity or Marie Curie’s radioactive element. They all started with a good idea. At first glance, we can certainly say that all these people were geniuses, so it is not surprising that these good ideas came naturally. We can even say that talent is necessary to have good ideas. But, in fact, the necessary requirements for the appearance of good ideas go far beyond talent.

In fact, we all have the potential to create good ideas. Interestingly, most of the time, we get the impression that good ideas suddenly appear, out of nowhere, in a completely random place. And we are often frustrated when we hear a good idea and think because we haven’t had the same idea before. In many situations, the necessary elements for a good idea to appear already exist in the subconscious. However, we have great difficulty in making the appropriate connections. We seem to have resisted many times, conditioned by a number of factors. But then why? Essentially because good ideas are the corollary of a complex process, as we will see below.

First of all, it is important to develop curiosity. This process elevates the brain to a state of mental openness that allows it to ask pertinent questions, retain a vast amount of information, reduce prejudices and increase self-confidence. Since childhood, curiosity has been part of the human condition. Why is the sky blue? Where does the wind come from? How do people are born and grow up? These are some of the deep questions that show curiosity and that often put parents in uncomfortable situations. However, it seems that, with age, we lose our curiosity. In fact, daily routines, the formation of preconceived ideas, superficial responses,

Secondly, for a good idea to emerge, it is necessary to be mentally bold, to escape the current rules, to take a risk. This process may seem simple, but it is, in fact, quite difficult and very conditioned by the environment in which we live. Imagine, for example, what it would have been like for Pythagoras to idealize in 500 BC that the planet Earth was not flat, as everyone thought, but round. For this reason, he was considered an eccentric person in his time and, as a result, he was persecuted. Nowadays, in centralized, paternalistic, extremely hierarchical and conservative societies, good ideas are more difficult to come up with, given that dialogue and information exchange do not take place naturally, in particular “from the bottom up”. Absence of praise, destructive criticism, exposure to ridicule or simple ignoring destroy a good idea quickly.

In addition, good ideas require periods of intense interaction with different ways of thinking, multiple areas of knowledge and cultures different from those we inherited, interspersed with phases of isolation. The interaction period forces us to look at a situation from a new perspective, helping to relate events and to foster the appropriate connections for the appearance of good ideas. The process is particularly effective when it occurs in an informal, relaxed, youthful environment, outside of routine, such as, for example, at a coffee table. On the other hand, isolation is necessary for self-reflection to take place, triggering in the brain the apprehension of all previously captured information, even if it is only at the subconscious level. It is a state of harmony between the oldest existing knowledge and the new, promoted by dynamic interaction with other people. This phase is manifested by the transformation of pure information into critical thinking, which allows us to accept new concepts and formulate good ideas.

After all, we cannot predict who will be the next Mozart, the founder of the next Google or the next Coco Chanel. In fact, you may be one of the readers or one of the readers of this article. However, the most important thing is not to lose the opportunity to have good ideas: so take a risk. Don’t forget that good ideas are difficult to describe at first and often seem absurd, but they are the ones that change the world.

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