How great men and women who made enormous contributions to societies, nations, and the universe, at large; high-achievers in various fields; entrepreneurs; and the likes struck upon ideas, or “big” ideas? Is it a gift that comes by birth, or something supernatural, or a product of a conscious exercise of our mind? Can the simple concept of the left and the right hemispheres of a human brain answer what is the origin of a big idea or, for that matter, a simple, small idea?
“Big ideas: they cease to exist if I fail to follow up on them with a steady string of small ideas that make each a reality.” – Twyla Tharp
Brainwave frequencies – the key
Mind science research, carried out over the decades, suggests the key to most things we desire in life lies in a particular state of mind caused by specific frequencies of the brain known as alpha and theta brainwave frequencies.
After carrying out intensive, decade-long research self-taught parapsychologist Jose Silva in 1960 developed his ‘Silva Mind Control’ method to help his children do better in school. The Silva team, including his daughter, has over the years worked further on this dynamic meditation technique to turn it into a sophisticated mental training program now taught in over 129 countries around the world. Like the Silva team a great many scientists believe that getting your brain to work in the specific frequencies can do wonders in terms of sparking off great ideas or finding solutions to complex problems, be it of life or of higher mathematics/science or of art.
What has a lot to do with the same concept of ideal brainwave frequencies is dreams, which are a very common source of inner, super-consciousness wisdom for many great people of different generations — philosophers, writers, artists, scientists, athletes and the likes. With rare regularity dreams came to their rescue when they thought and worked hard to resolve seemingly complex problems or to strike upon ideas that culminated in great, immortal works to the welfare of humanity.
Sparks called idea or inspiration
Google it out and you will be bombarded with all sorts of literature. Your search also will lead to websites where commoners and nameless people post their experiences and explanations — at times, rather bizarre — on how they are or were fired up with an idea or inspiration.
I for one get ideas, small or big, mostly when I commute or take a short trip using a public transport within the city I’m in. I often experienced this in my pretty long stint in Mumbai. Now, after relocating to Kolkata I am experiencing the same over the past four years. This is most probably because during such short trips, my mind behaves like an empty slate open (read eager) to absorb and suck anything that is new and novel. Do you remember what Malcom Forbes once famously said? “The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” For me, such short trips are equivalent to education. Or, better if I phrase it this way: “For me, such short trips constitute the ongoing process of education.”
Indeed, there’s no magic formula. But that doesn’t mean there’s no formula at all, argues an article in ‘The Wall Street Journal’ titled ‘How Entrepreneurs Come Up With Great Ideas’.
It may seem unbelievable, but it’s true more often than not “a great or big idea is not really big”. It’s small and simple. A great idea hit upon by an individual or a group, mostly strikes us with the wonder: “Why on earth no one else thought of this before?”
A “eureka” spark, suddenly
Stories of how great minds and achievers received or would get ideas and inspiration are galore. Inspiration or an idea seems to spark from a great number of occasions and sources. A morning/evening walk in a garden or on a lane/road with an emptied, open mind, a flip through the pages of a newspaper/magazine, intensive and extensive listening — be it to an expert/experienced mind or a child, playing a video game, casually, or some other sport the player is passionate about, at some level(s) of sleep/dreams, a conscious effort of tapping into one’s subconscious mind and so on.
Often, ideas come up on forcing a mind — maybe from a brainstorming session by a team — to work out a solution to a problem. A “eureka” moment relating to a particular direction or effort often seems to shoot out from nowhere when you’re working hard at something radically different. Ad agencies working for an account often experience both.
Some ideas die unknown
No wonder, whatever maybe the ways or sources of receiving or the methods of producing great ideas, many a time the greatest of ideas may die even before they seem to be born. In other words, even the greatest of ideas might not have even seen light of the day for us to take notice of because the people who gave birth to such ideas or their associates/teammates did not even bother to work on them to fruition.
Those ideas that were born but not introduced to humanity surely died prematurely or met with an accidental or not-cared-for death. However, there will always be ‘n’ number of ideas that can lift you to great heights.
Wait for my next post for the answer to the big question yours truly has posed to you.