Have you ever thought about how many million dollar ideas you have forgotten?!

I’m absolutely sure that at least a couple of times in your life you’ve had a brilliant idea but somehow it slipped your mind. You were on the crowded bus and you simply couldn’t write it down. Or maybe you were walking down the street but your mobile went flat or you didn’t have a pen.

And then a few months later you hear news on TV that some guy used YOUR idea and became a millionaire. We all know the feeling. I bet you can feel the surge of frustration this very moment!

So why did it happen?

DISADVANTAGES OF TYPICAL NOTE-TAKING

  • It’s not always possible to write something down due to conditions and the nature of “eureka” moments. Usually the best ideas strike us in the conditions which make typical note taking impossible: under shower, while running, right before you fall asleep. No wonder. Usually that’s the moment when your brain is relaxed and produces alpha brain waves (Niedermeyer E.(1997). Alpha rhythms as physiological and abnormal phenomena).
  • You might not have proper tools to help you capture your ideas (e.g. pen, mobile phone, etc.)
  • It might be weird. Another fairly typical situation in which new ideas are created is when you have a conversation with somebody and then, out of nowhere, your beautiful brains crash to produce some inspiring idea. The problem is that you don’t always know some person well enough to put a conversation on hold in order to write your ideas down.

The point being – technology is great but it won’t always be there to save the day.Most of us are afraid of being dependent on other people. But do you really think that being dependent on a battery or a pen is more noble? (Sure, they won’t judge you but that’s about the only difference). Who will keep data for you when we run out of trees?!

So what can you do to prevent it from happening?

USE YOUR IMAGINATION TO PLAN IN YOUR MIND!

To make sure that you never ever forget another brilliant idea, you have to use the power of your imagination. So what’s the secret?

Mnemonics!

One of the methods with proven record of effectiveness is the method of loci (Bellezza, F. S., 1996, Mnemonic methods to enhance storage and retrieval). This technique, as fancy as it sounds, was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The general idea behind this method is to create associations between the elements which are well-known to you and new pieces of information (ideas in our case).

To do this, we should:

  1. choose the layout of some building / flat / house which we are familiar with.
  2. select some distinctive loci within the place of our choice
  3. specify key words characterizing your idea
  4. create some vivid, abstract (or just plain absurd) associations between the loci and key words.
  5. finally, take a mental walk, once you’re home, to retrieve the precious idea

Let’s go through an example to show how straightforward and bulletproof this method is.

EXAMPLE

It’s a safe bet that you know exactly how your flat / house looks like and probably at least a few places of your friends, and family members. And that gives us a lot of potential places you can use.

I’ll use my own room as an example (distinctive loci) as I seem to spend there unhealthy amount of time. Let’s say that I have an idea to create a comic book about a dysfunctional super hero, called the Incredible Incompetento. His only super-power is being able to ruin every company’s project.

Through my mind’s eye I see him as a clumsy, white-collar worker with glasses (key word). Next, I’ll picture him entering my room and spilling a cup of coffee all over my sketches (association) and burning my hands in the process

Forget about forgetting and embrace your regret-free life. Never again will your brilliant ideas sink into oblivion! And if it ever happens that you become a millionaire, don’t forget to drop me a thank you message.