Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Mathematics Behind a Big Idea

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Most of us believe that all we need to do is to find that one big idea.

Are you waiting to be inspired? Waiting for that lightning bolt of creative energy that fills you with so much momentum, everything else will fall in place.

There is a reason that people compare it to being struck by lightning. Not even getting struck by lightning happens by chance.

You have to walk out on top of a hill in a storm and hold up a piece of metal.

photo by Owen Zammit (creative commons)

There is a formula for being struck by lightning. And there is a formula for finding your inspiration.

(Getting Started + A Bad Idea) x Time x Work = The Big Idea

(Want to share the formula with your friends? Click here to tweet it.)

Notice that time and work multiply the chance of finding the inspiration. Both are critical. But without a bad idea or without getting start, the entire outcome multiplies to zero. 

My friend, Matt Appling, a writer, pastor, and a teacher, puts it this way:

“My biggest obstacle in getting started on a new project, is that I often feel the need to have the ‘big idea.’  You have to have a vision for something before you can know where you’re going, right?  Well, I often don’t have a vision, a five year plan, or even a five minute plan.”  

Matt’s secret? He starts. 

With a small idea at first. Maybe even a really bad idea that will never amount to anything. But he begins.

Then the magic takes place. Once he starts, that first worthless idea helps him come up with another bad one. This new idea is still small. But it is a step. The longer he works the more ideas develop. 

The ideas then begin to develop into something worth pursuing. Eventually inspiration comes.

Incredible ideas are a product of adding together a start full of bad ideas, which when given time and added to work, can develop into incredibly good ideas.

But the key ingredient, the one part that has to happen first is the start.

Nothing happens until you begin.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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9 Replies

  1. The irony of this post as that I was using it to stall starting an idea because I have no more than a three minute plan…

  2. That’s great because I’m chalk full of bad ideas.

    1. me too. it’s actually incredibly liberating.

    2. Including missing the phrase “chock full?” (just kidding)

      1. Proving I’m one step closer to greatness.

  3. YES!

    I get so sick of hearing about “goals” and how “you can’t know you’ve reached a goal unless you have one.”

    Sometimes God doesn’t show us the ending, only which way we’re supposed to go now.

    1. I’m glad this resonated with you, Joe.

  4. Sometimes just having those bad ideas in the back of your mind makes for a nice set of things to build off of when the right situation comes around.

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