The depressing thing about inspiration is that it often strikes at the most inconvenient and uninspiring of times.
Such as when you're fast asleep at 3am.
In fact there are few things more annoyingly frustrating than having a sudden flash of brilliance… a blinding moment of insight and clarity… a superb problem-solving, time-saving, profit-boosting, world-changing idea… and then come the morning, not being able to remember what it was.
What's more, you may not remember the idea, but you will remember that you had one.
Ironic and conclusive proof that your brain has a sense of humour -
and a mind of its own (in addition to yours of course).
And it's not just great ideas that seem to appear at lightning speed and then disappear just as quickly. It happens with mundane stuff too.
Like the everyday jobs and tasks we all forget to do from time to time.
The good news is that such is the incredible super-human computer-like power of the lump of jelly between your ears that it can keep track of all the things you've promised to - even the ones you've forgotten all about.
The bad news is that it often also has the habit of reminding you of them at the precise times when you're not in a position to do anything about them.
Thankfully there is a quick and easy, time-tested technique for remembering and recalling important ideas and thoughts that pop up at times when you can't easily capture them.
It's a variation on the old 'tie a piece of string on your finger' idea.
It's based on throwing objects around. Or movement.
Now I've never read the best-selling book 'Who Moved My Cheese?' but it's a great title and it stuck in my memory because it alludes to a universal truth which is this…
Our brains recognise patterns.
And we tend to notice when things are out of order, or not in their normal places. We tend to notice when things have moved.
So if you're awoken in the early hours by an earth-shattering, inspirational idea - or you've just remembered that you didn't send your boss that super-urgent report they were hassling you for - simply reach over, pick up an inanimate object such as a book (preferably not your partner) and then throw it on the floor.
And as you do so, look at the item for a moment or two and think about what it is you need to remember.
That's all there is to it.
When you awake the next morning feeling refreshed and dandy, and as you start to wonder why there's a book lying on the floor you'll quickly be reminded of what you needed to remember.
Your brilliant idea or thought.
It's a very simple idea and it works.
Better still, you can use it in a variety of everyday situations where it may be difficult - or at times inappropriate - to take notes.
In the shower… while driving… on the phone… even in meetings where you'd prefer to remain focused on the person who's talking and what's being discussed - just nonchalantly move something such as a pen from one location to another.
You don't have to lob projectiles across the room, though this will undoubtedly make the proceedings more memorable.
The Final Word: The simplest ideas are often the best. And the best ideas are the ones that you can remember… even if inspiration strikes at the most uninspiring of times. So start throwing stuff around and begin remembering more of your brilliant thoughts and ideas, whenever they occur.
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