Column: Have an idea? Keep it to yourself!

My wife Sarah and I are well matched. When it comes down to it, we usually make the same choices. But we come to these conclusions from opposite angles.

Sarah is a nice person who is often motivated by the responses she gets from others. In general, she considers herself a people-pleaser as a result.

Because she’s so friendly and her smile can lighten up any room, I get to be an ornery cuss. Thanks to Sarah’s social skills, I can be as sarcastic as I like and we still get invited to parties.

Instead of being a people-pleaser, I am a stubborn antagonist who is more likely to do the opposite of what’s expected. Basically, I only do what I want to do. And yet we agree totally on the following point.

If you have an idea, an idea that has you beaming with pride, an idea that you are proud of, keep it to yourself!

An idea that is held close to your vest and not verbalized has power. It has a shot at being perfect. It can be exciting and motivating-a reason to get up in the morning.

But once you blurt it out to a friend over coffee, it becomes profane, inadequate and constricting.

From my point of view, ideas don’t seem so compelling once they’re taken out of a personal context. No sentence uttered ever matches the spark of its epiphany.

There is a social reasoning for this as well. To Sarah, spoken plans don’t have a chance to grow organically like dreams do because they can’t change and evolve once they are shared with others.

Once you tell people that you are going to write a mystery novel, you are locked into writing that novel.

“How’s that mystery coming?” will surely be the first thing out of their mouths the next time they see you.

But what if, after you bought your notebook and pen, you realized that you really have more fun keeping a journal?

Your idea has morphed into something new. The motivation and pride you would have felt for the journal now has to share a room with worry and fear of being judged.

The focus has switched from the nugget that inspired you to negotiating the expectations of others.

Plans not shared with others, however, gain momentum and can become a driving internal dialogue. In your head, ideas are more often sacred than silly. They feel like just what the doctor ordered.

If you end up changing your mind, it’s only because you’ve thought of something better. So, here’s to ideas that are never shared!


About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
This entry was posted in columm, philosophy, The Joy of Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Column: Have an idea? Keep it to yourself!

  1. Kim says:

    The title had me hysterical, as did the thought of you as being ornery…but the content was lovely, and I found myself agreeing with you completely. My favorite line: “No sentence uttered ever matches the spark of its epiphany.” I love this column; it’s eloquent and literary and made me look at the sharing of ideas in a different light. I will admit to not having thought of this often, although I do tend to keep ideas close to my vest as a sort of…self-defense, I guess. But now I feel as if I’ve been wise all this time – so thank you!

  2. madonnatella says:

    i think this is an interesting thought,elaborated through unusual pictures,and then,proven right.i am not opposed to it,i am not fellow travelling it,it loosens my mind just so,that i can associate and dissociate freely on the subject and,as usual and naturally,avoid a conclusion.the one thing that sticks to my mind is being averse in a group of people.i’ve allways felt that need,then,again,i was allways backed up by the knowledge of having my twin brother,no matter what.but then there are similarities with gene and his wife.except that my brother is an anathematician also.
    it’s as with flowers.i don’t like “country-bouquets” or “meadow-arrangements”.flowers for me are,as they were for my mother,red roses,lily’s,compositions with clashing colours,datura,flowers with a poisonous or even painful i think that’s the relevance for me in genes philosophy: being averse,shocking, the idea-thought i think that it means: utter an idea and change it as many as you like,dissolve it,reverse it,disperse it,don’t be loyal to your own ideas.

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