Zadra Creative Blog

Don’t just think it—ink it.

If your ideas are worth having, they are worth recording.

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Every day hundreds of hunches, intuitions, inklings, premonitions and fleeting ideas fly thru your consciousness. Some hold the seeds of pure brilliance. Write them down. Use a pencil, or a sharpie, or a white board or a laptop, or the back of your business card, but don’t let them get away—write them down.

If you do, you’ll be in great company. Einstein, Agatha Christie, Lewis Carol, John Lennon, Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs—so many gifted thinkers, inventors, artists and product developers have all been avid note-takers, doodlers or journalers.

Note-taking and doodling are both forms of visual thinking. The simple act of drawing spontaneous, free-flowing shapes, squiggles and words jump-starts the right side of your brain, sparking creativity and unlocking the door to new possibilities.

DaVinci made thousands of pages of hand-written notes and sketches—-all written in his own reverse code—detailing fantastic ideas, some of them centuries ahead of their time.

Thomas Edison was probably the supreme note-taker. His journal consists of more than 5 million pages of hand-written notes, detailing his dogged pursuit of more than 1,000 US patents, including such iconic inventions as the phonograph, electric light, movie camera and storage battery. Edison said that his ability to go back and revisit his hastily made notes and doodles helped him refine and evolve his rough ideas into practical breakthroughs and inventions.

Make yourself this one little promise: The next time you hear yourself saying, “Hey, that gives me an idea,” stop whatever you’re doing and jot it down. If you learn to monitor that chatty subconscious voice in your head, ideas will come to you at many times throughout the day—while you’re shaving, or driving, or jogging, or about to fall asleep. Some of them will be pure gold. Whenever they come, write them down. Don’t just think it–ink it!

WATCH THE VIDEO VERSION OF THIS BLOG: Dan Zadra’s keynote speech on “Re-imagining Education” at the annual GE Conference in Orlando, Florida.

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