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How Much Is An Idea Worth?

January 14, 2013

by Kerry Kilpatrick

“In July of that year (Darwin) began what he called his notebooks on the ‘transmutation’ of species. The first of them was a pocket sized booklet bound in brown leather with a metal clasp, small enough to be carried in a jacket, private enough to hold wild ideas and heretical doubts.”  from the book The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen

Trapping ideas has proven historically to be intellectually powerful. Based on the inventions the process has spawned it is also immensely productive. Trapping your ideas can also be extremely profitable.

harry potterOne of the greatest stories that illustrates the profitability of trapping an idea is from the famed author J.K. Rowling who is the creator of the Harry Potter series. At the back of her first book, in the section entitled About the Author, it had this to say “J.K. Rowling was a struggling single mother when she wrote the beginnings of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone on scraps of paper at a local café.” That idea launched a new book and movie franchise that, according to Forbes magazine, made Ms. Rowling the first billionaire author .

What if she hadn’t written the idea down? What if she didn’t plant that seed of an idea on paper and thus stopped it from ever germinating or bearing fruit? Would she still be a struggling mother instead of a billionaire? In her own words: “rock bottom was the foundation upon which I rebuilt my life.” That one idea changed her life in so many ways.

Have you ever had a great idea only to forget what it was a short time later because you didn’t make it real by putting it to paper?

Ideas are powerful and profitable only if they pass from simply being a thought, to becoming real by being written down or “trapped”, and then acted upon. If that first crucial step of capturing them is skipped, far too often, like a wisp of smoke, they vanish and never bear fruit.

The key to trapping ideas is to have a system in place ready to receive them at the moment they are born. Sure you can write on a scrap of paper but far too often the paper gets misplaced or lost. The greats, who utilized their journals to advance their careers and creativity, carried them with them at all times and used them extensively. The journaling system does two things, it helps capture ideas but also fosters the creation of ideas. Without a system in place you are missing out on a huge opportunity to develop and take advantage of the creative talents that lie within each one of us.


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One Comment
  1. One should always remember to write an idea down.. no doubt.

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