“Necessity is the mother of invention,” an English-language proverb and the quote: “Observation: the true mother of invention,” by Jennifer Derome are the underlying themes of this blog. For the last few days, my mind, barring professional routines, was seemingly empty. I looked inside for something to contemplate, but nothing could I find. I felt hollow with nothing apparent on my mind. Is our mind empty when we can not read anything from it? Are ideas latent in a man or do they come from external source?
Many a time, I heard people saying that they were bereft of ideas and got bogged down due to their inability to find ways to move forward. They self-conclude that their minds are empty. But they fail to understand that there is nothing called empty or hollow in life. Even when you say that a room is empty, it is not so because you can still return alive after entering the room — it has plenty of life-saving oxygen. Yes, even when you say that your mind is empty, it is not so as it has the wherewithal to produce many life changing ideas. How can I find out and use my idea-sprouting inherent resources, thereby making myself flourish in life?
Every mind is endowed with resources to generate ideas needed to fuel the life, but all minds do not utilize the resources. That makes me to revisit the fundamental question that I asked earlier: Are ideas latent in a man or they come from external source? To put the question more precisely: are stimulants to ideas inherent in a man or have their source as external? The answer is both — mining for ideas can be characteristic of a person with need as the stimulant at times while it can be an external source working as the stimulant at some other times.
When ideas sprout with its source as the person himself/herself, need is the input — stimulant. A water-body is viewed by a fisherman as a source of livelihood, an angler as a place for pastime and an energy-expert as a source of hydroelectric power. Here, the external source remained the same but the different needs generated different ideas. Needs generating ideas is not that simple as a natural process but a deliberate one. A need can be felt but stopped at that stage itself without transforming into an idea when the person is lazy to further act upon the felt-need even when external sources suiting for the transformation of the need to idea are evidently available.
If you scout for the antonyms of idea, dictionaries will not show laziness as one of them. But laziness is an anathema to ideas. Laziness is the inbuilt penchant to disable one’s own faculty to act in demand with the felt-needs. Procrastination is the baby-laziness. In other words, procrastination grows to laziness. Procrastination has a schedule to revisit, but laziness does not have one. Over a period of time, procrastination matures to laziness when the person starts to set the revisit with an uncertain and indefinite schedule — you have graduated from procrastination to laziness. The best proverb that captures laziness: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” How can one escape from laziness? Procrastinate procrastination!
Laziness has another dimension of remaining in a perpetual state of happiness in the comfort zone of achievement. De-addiction from the coziness of comfort zone is a necessity to defeat this form of laziness from taking root in you. The first step toward this is to think beyond the very factors that brought the comforts. This is easier said than done. A simple technique to pitch up and sustain an urge for progress in life is deliberately treat big things as small things and still aim for bigger things. Mind has a penchant to conquer big things when it is conditioned to see big things as not-so-big things — a self declaration that I am bigger to conquer the big task before me.
External source as the trigger for sprouting of ideas comes from observation. We see or we hear many things is one thing, but we see or hear many things and we learn from what we saw or heard is another thing. That learning comes from observation. Observation is the power of molding oneself to the mode of seeing and hearing things from a student’s point of view. The power of observation is present in all in varying degrees from zero to infinite. For example, feather is one of the lightest substances but cannot move on its own from one place to another — it needs wind for mobility. If you merely see a feather-lying-standstill getting moved by a breeze, then you saw it. But if you see that even a lightest substance like feather needs wind to move it forward and learn from it that nothing happens on its own and that there is an effort behind every way forward, then it is an observation. Observation can be a spark capable of turning a barren mind into a fertile one with ideas. So all is not lost when you are bereft of ideas.
In order to call something as observation, it needs to be objective. But objectivity is a casualty when wishes color our observation. One needs to take care to not allow wishful thinking to infiltrate observation. Many common things we come across act as stimulants for ideas if we closely observe them. What do you see when you see an iPhone or iPad? iPhone, iPad and similar gadgets made the world smaller and flat. But if you look at them from a student’s point of view — observation — you will see the big I and Q — IQ — that made iPhones and iPads possible.
Needs and observations are the harbingers of ideas in a man. Needs felt inside and observations made have the power to stimulate your thinking to produce great ideas capable of taking you through hitherto unexplored areas of mind. Both the English-language proverb and the quote from Jennifer Derome have values in their words. Do act on the felt-needs and be a student of observation, ideas will sprout in you like in the fertile farmland of a hardworking farmer.