How many times do you listen to a message that resonates with you, and you think, ‘That’s a great idea. I should do that!’ And then, it’s forgotten, and nothing happens.
This is the case for most people, so best not feel alone. Most good ideas are lost by the next day. It’s just the facts.
However, a good idea is a good idea. How do we capitalize on all the amazing information available to us in today’s world so we feel better? How might we use these moments to inspire us to positive action so our families and communities are uplifted and supported?
Attention. Attention. Attention.
When you are exposed to an idea, and it inspires you, then pay attention. In fact, we need to pay more attention to ideas that feel lighter, more joyful, and more inspiring to us. Our minds have been programmed by our history, most typically, to see the immediate problems or obstacles to implementing a great idea.
What you will be thinking today is almost identical to the thoughts you had yesterday and the day before. This is well documented. Of course, there is some variation, but it’s a variation on a theme. In a sense, it’s like a soap opera in our minds. Some of the players change, and the situation changes, but each character remains true to their tendencies (at least in our minds).
And thus, the mind remains true to its tendencies, turning to rapid, habitual judgments producing effortless reruns of anxiety, fear, sadness, or anger.
Why? Because these are quite complex neural pathways that are well-developed and create habits of thought. To override this, we must initiate a change.
First, Take More Responsibility for What Sticks!
When the world brings you a great idea, listen up. And then take responsibility to do more with it. The average person will do nothing with the great idea. Well, perhaps they like it or share it, but they do not implement the idea even though they had a moment of inspiration.
So consider a simple formula for recording the great idea, and then make sure you are reminded to do something with it later. Send yourself an email or text, or create a note that stays in front of you. But take action immediately to record and keep that in front of you. This is how we start to take more responsibility for our lives. I believe life drops these hints to us continuously, and we just ignore them, day in and day out. Recording the great ideas here is a first step in making these a part of your life.
Secondly, Review, Contemplate and Be Grateful.
The next step is to take a few minutes to review your written notes from these inspiring ideas or lessons and contemplate how these could make a difference for you or for those around you. This is not an hour, but just a few minutes before bed. Rewrite the idea, perhaps in your own words. Try to make it yours.
Next, just sit quietly and contemplate what your life would look like if you lived that great idea day in and day out. How would you be transformed if this were just part of how you live?
Finally, turn to gratitude before closing your journal or notepad. Why do this? Why be very specific about your appreciation and repeat this daily? We do this because gratitude is incompatible with sadness or regret. It forces the mind to see how things are working out for us and to keep this thought front and center as our day ends. There is much written about the power of gratitude, and some of these may seem ‘flaky’ and overstated. However, the research is solid here. Practicing being grateful and doing this daily in written form will lighten the load of life. All three of these steps can usually do done in under ten minutes. Who can’t find ten minutes to take responsibility for a better life?
Step 3: Intend To Bring Your Attention To Great Ideas In Action
An intention (i.e., a plan to do something) is the critical final piece that transforms a great idea into a great life. This is the self-created plan to take action on the awesome ideas you have heard. Without it, we just move into the same life with nothing changing for us.
The magic occurs when we direct how we use our attention through the strong intentions we set at the beginning of each day. Any great idea comes with an inspired application of the great idea if we are paying attention. (And now you are!) The key here is to make sure the intention contains a plan of action.
What will you do or think intentionally today that will bring those great ideas into your life so you can be lighter, happier, and more successful in any endeavor you choose? Please don’t let life offer you these pointers and then find yourself going to bed having forgotten them. Consider this simple system to allow such wisdom to impact you and inspire you to live with more satisfaction.