Don’t Discard Your Ideas

One of the practical things I have learned during my philosophy studies is that it is wise not to judge your ideas immediately when they come to you. There is a real risk of creating a habit of suppressing your creative thought. Our minds are adaptive and learn to respond to the environment. So, if you adopt a persistent self-censoring attitude towards your ideas, you may unwittingly construct a mental environment (for yourself!) that is hostile to creativity, spontaneity, and novelty. Many of us are alert to such adverse influences from external factors, but it is more difficult to become aware of this in ourselves. I think we should do our best not to become our own enemies. Therefore, I want to share with you a quick technique that I have found helpful and use daily.

screenshot of a mind map
A screenshot of my daily-use mind map

Whenever an idea comes to my mind and I feel that initial “ooh, this is interesting” – however faint or quickly passing it is – I immediately capture that idea. For this purpose, I have chosen one online mind map app that syncs across the devices I use (see the screenshot above). The main point, however, is that there should be a place, a location where you can capture all your ideas and return to them later. I found that one centralized location works best. The less the hassle the more likely you are to use it and create a constructive habit out of it. The more you practice not judging your ideas and capturing them in your chosen location the more ideas will come to you. The benefit of having all your ideas in one place is that you can find interesting connections between them, which, in turn, can inspire even more new ideas.

Just remember to keep any judging out of it. That can come later, much later, when you are writing or editing a paper for a specific purpose, for instance, and need to be selective about the content and material used. Leave the sharp knife of the analytical approach for that later stage. Creativity can be easily stifled and takes much longer to be nurtured back to life. Let’s not self-harm our own thinking.

keep exploring!

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