Ideas and boiling liquids


How do you capture and subsequently flesh out thoughts/ideas that  come to your mind? After all, they are like boiling liquids, i.e., vaporize unless you manage to capture them. This is one of the problems I have wrestled with quite often. Lots of interesting thoughts come to my mind, especially at odd times (while traveling, before going to sleep etc), of which quite a few should have ended up on the blog.

The problem has been sustaining the thoughts and then giving them a more comprehensible form which can be shared with others. After all, not every thought is going to lead to Archimedes’ Eureka moment, and such means of propagating ideas can be more or less ruled out. It is also too bad that we cannot collect our thoughts directly into a pensieve and experience them later.

So what choices are we left with to condense and collect the ideas before they vaporize entirely leaving no residue behind? Well, there are quite a lot of ways we can put down our thoughts, ranging from recording voice messages on the phone, making notes on some electronic device (phone/PDA/computer) to just going for the simple, cost effective pen and paper method. However, this only gives my thoughts an added degree of permanence, and not the form in which they can be readily shared. They are still too abstract (something like bullet points) to be readily comprehensible to others.

Thought cycle

The final mile (putting everything together in a coherent fashion) is probably the hardest, and this is what ultimately determines the fate of the thought – whether it gets published in the blog (or any other equivalent sharing medium) or remains confined to the draft bin. Of course, depending on the kind of thought/idea there may be a tougher journey ahead whereby it gets realized or implemented, but that’s another story altogether.

So, in effect, the thought cycle is quite a lot like oil exploration. A thought which passing through your mind is similar to striking oil, with a lot of initial enthusiasm. Then you need to drill down further to explore (put down your thoughts) or just ignore the occurrence. If you do drill down, you then have to extract and purify so that it can be distributed (as petrol, diesel etc in case of oil).

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3 thoughts on “Ideas and boiling liquids

  1. Very well said. I have sometimes used a technique of mentally page-marking a thought for later reference. The idea is to attach a tag to the thought and attempt to remember the tag.

    The other interesting fact we need to note is that thought get subconsciously modified. That means when you rethink the some thought it comes out different.

  2. I wonder whether there are any tools available for thought tagging. Mind maps do aid you in laying out a thought, but I’m not sure whether there’s any support for tagging.

  3. try checking out the software – Personal Brain.3.x from the BRain technologies it is nice but printing a page is not good.

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