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How to mine a profound idea

Every once in a while, I hear an idea that’s interesting. It somehow relates exactly to what I’m doing. And I can sense there’s depth to it.

Conversation threadsConversation threads

During a conversation, there is a thread that is vowen together by all participants. Ideas and messages flow together to form a skein of information.

When the conversation ends, however, afterwards we might not take the time to pull apart the individual strands of the conversation and examine them closer. We might remember the exchange as interesting and that there were awesome ideas being thrown back and forth, but what were they again? Wait, a new notification, oh, and I have to reply to Dan…

And so we lose the possibility of exploration of ideas. We don’t discover the profundity within them. We don’t mine them and, as a result, miss out on the impact they could have had.

Idea depthIdea depth

Here’s a recipte for mining profound ideas:

1) Write it down

If you hear something directly relevant to you, note it. Write it down with a pen or on a computer.

2) Put it somewhere you’ll see

Put the written record somewhere where you see it. Somewhere it will annoy you and force you to deal with it. Put it on a window, on your door, on your desk, on the computer desktop, inside the work folder, on the calendar… Somewhere it won’t vanish.

3) Explore it

  • Read more about it

  • Think about it with pen & paper

  • Discuss it with a like-minded person

  • Walk and think about it

4) Act on it

Once you’ve written an idea down, put it somewhere you see, explored it, you need to apply it. Direct experience turns something you heard or read into something you’ve felt.

That’s how I now explore ideas that strike me as profound and turn them into experience.

How will you explore a profound idea when you next come across it?