Brilliant In Tiny Bursts

How often are you brilliant?

How frequently do you have groundbreaking ideas?

If you are like me, the answer is not very often. And that can be discouraging.

We look at very successful people and assume they are brilliant every hour of every day. How can we possibly keep up with them when we only have a great idea once in a blue moon (and we aren’t even smart enough to know how often a blue moon occurs)?

What if I told you that even the most successful people aren’t coming up with fantastic ideas every single minute? And that is coming from someone who has been called brilliant (No, not me).

In this book Linchpin, author Seth Godin explains what he calls, “The Law of Linchpin Leverage.”

“Most of the time you are not being brilliant,” Godin says. “Most of the time you are doing stuff that ordinary people could do. We are brilliant only in tiny bursts.”

That is a comforting thought.

I often feel lousy if I am not constantly coming up with fantastic ideas.

It is refreshing to hear from someone who is considered one of the best writers in the world that being ordinary is okay. Godin is one of the people I assumed was overflowing with brilliance. If he is doing ordinary things most of the time, then it must be okay for the rest of us to do the same.

We can’t get down on ourselves when we aren’t coming up with brilliant ideas.

We can’t let our feelings of inadequacy get in the way of finding our next brilliant burst.

So the question you are asking is probably, “how do I find my next brilliant burst?”

Godin sheds some light on this as well by saying, “People who tell you, ‘I could paint a painting like that’ are missing the point. The craft of painting or the craft of writing that book, those are the easy parts. It’s the art, and the incite, and bravery of value creation that are rewarded.”

The majority of your life you won’t be brilliant. And you don’t have to be.

But to be brilliant and create value, you do have to be brave.

It is brave to ask questions, especially when you are afraid you might get an answer.

It is brave to speak up in a meeting, particularly when everyone else has their head down.

It is brave to share an idea, even if you might not consider it brilliant.

You won’t create amazing things 24/7. And that’s okay.

But be brave and you will recognize your brilliance. Even though it only comes in tiny bursts.

How to Come up With Great Ideas

Have you ever struggled to come up with a good idea?

I know I have. I often have a tough time coming up with content for this blog. I wish there was some magical way of creating exceptional new ideas.

What if I told you there was a way?

All you have to do is come up with some bad ideas.

That may sound funny, but it is true.

In his book Linchpin, author Seth Godin explains that the best way to create good ideas is to allow yourself to generate bad ideas.

This is hard for us. We would rather freeze up and come up with nothing than take a risk on a perceived bad idea. Because after all, we don’t want to have our bad idea laughed at.

But if we really want to find good ideas, we need to allow ourselves to be laughed at. If we start turning down ideas because we think they might be bad, then we will miss the really good ideas that try to slip through.

Godin says, “All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you are unwilling to have lousy, lame and even dangerously bad ideas.”

What’s even more, most people can only come up with one good idea for every dozen bad ideas.

So I encourage you to start coming up with bad ideas. We have to work through all the rotten ones to find the brilliant one.  Write down your ideas, even if you think they are terrible. As Godin explains, if you do this exercise a lot you will discover that some pretty good ideas will start showing up.