As you may have guessed from some recent blog posts, I’ve spent some time on the west coast during the past couple months and many ideas were spawned by that seaside setting — like this one about creativity and ocean waves.
While walking along the beach watching the waves come crashing into rocks and wash across the shore, I was struck by the concept that creative inspiration and brainstorming are much like waves. They can be a violent and overwhelming deluge of concepts that serve to disorient and turn you upside down by dumping a ton of ideas on your mental shores all at once.
There are two ways to take advantage of this flood of inspiration:
SOAK or SURF.
Let the concepts wash over you and complete drench you in the rising tidal waters of ideas. Absorb as much and as many of the concepts as possible while the waves inevitable begin to recede back into the ocean from which they came. Search your mental shores for what was left behind. Just as the real ocean leaves shells, shiny stones, perhaps even pirate treasure on the sand at the water’s edge, so to does a wave of ideas leave behind shells of greater ideas, shiny concepts to explore, and hidden treasures to uncover.
Surfers paddle out into the ocean and watching for swells (rising wind forces that create wave energy) that are promising enough to ride back into the shore. One of the types of waves most sought after by experienced surfers are called Tubing waves. Tube Waves (also called Plunging Waves) are generated when a swell rolls through deep water and then hits a much more shallow area. To an Idea Guy this means a really unrealistic and far-out concept that begins to gain momentum in your mind as your brain finds a way to put it into action in the shallower waters of reality. When you find a concept that you can ride all the way into shore because what started out as crazy dream can actually manifest as reality — that’s Idea Surfing.
Come on in… the water’s fine!