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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Get Your Ideas to Stick

Ideas fall like snowflakes on a ground that must be ready for them to stick.

I sit watching the snow fall out my window and I'm frustrated. It's been snowing, off and on, for the last two days, but the grass is showing green and the streets are clear. We are at that magical temperature where the snow falls and melts on contact, and we've been at that temperature for days. Just to the north there are people getting inches and inches of the stuff. To the east friends are posting pictures of snowmen. But here I sit with nothing.

Sure, I'm a kid at heart. I want a snow day. I want to play in the snow. I'm from the wet, temperate Pacific Northwest where snow is a rarity. It dominates the news coverage and thrills the school children (and me). So it's much more frustrating when the snow is falling, but not sticking. Big, fat flakes melting away into nothing.

Sometimes I feel like my ideas do the same thing. I fling them out with abandon. I create and share, but then nothing sticks. I've worked hard to produce the exact conditions necessary to make something new, new words, new images, new ideas. And the ground isn't ready. The ideas don't stick.

If snow could have feelings, it would be tempted to give up. To move on to places that are more ready to receive it. The mountains love the snow, but, if the snow works extra hard the aggregate affect of millions of ice crystals can change the temperature of the ground. One flake melts, but the temperature drops a fraction of a degree. A thousand flakes later, the ground is cooler, maybe even cold enough.

Your ideas may appear to melt on contact. You might feel like the ground isn't ready, like you should just go somewhere else to share. But what if you stay? What if you keep sharing? What if, like snowflakes, your ideas actual help to get the ground ready to receive more ideas?

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