A Sunny Focus

What you focus your attention on matters

The greatest thing since sliced bread

It happens to everyone at some time or another. You’re minding your own business when suddenly you have a wonderful, incredible, (dare I say) brilliant idea of something which ought to exist. “Why doesn’t this exist,” we may ask ourselves. “How is it possible no one else feels the world is in need of this?”

Chances are, someone else has thought of your idea or something similar. After all, אֵין כָּל חָדָשׁ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ‎. Okay, alright. I don’t read Hebrew. I took this straight off of wiktionary. For those of you who ALSO don’t read Hebrew, and who didn’t click into the link, it means, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”

On the other hand, clearly, new things do come to be. I mean, back in Solomon’s time, no one was walking around text-arguing their philosophies with their friends on their cell phones. Undoubtedly, if a person were more dedicated and less prone to boredom than I, it would be possible to trace the precursor of the cell phone all the way back to something from 970 BC(E). However, a series of ideas, each built upon the last, made it possible for the latest iPhone or Android to reside in your purse or pocket.

“We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.”

John of Salisbury, 12th century theologian**

** Interestingly, this quote has been attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, who lived much more recently than John of Salisbury, and perhaps even John of Salisbury did not originate the phrase. According to phrases.org.uk, John of Salisbury “was known to have adapted and refined the work of others.” Armed with this knowledge, one might proclaim, if one spoke Hebrew, “אֵין כָּל חָדָשׁ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ.”

So even though your brilliant idea is probably building on someone else’s old idea, still it could be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Just the other day, I was driving along fairly early in the morning and I saw a breathtaking sunrise. I happened to be next to a park where I was able to pull over and take some pictures of it, but afterward, as I continued on toward my destination, I saw the softly pink and orange tinted morning sky as a backdrop to the city skyline. Clearly, I could not reasonably pull onto the shoulder of the interstate and start wandering around trying to capture the vision I was trying to impress upon my memory.

It was then that I was struck with my very own brilliant idea. Someone should invent a camera that can capture what a driver is seeing without them having to pull over on the interstate and become a traffic hazard! Maybe it could be in the windshield of the car, and a push button on the steering wheel. Or possibly, it could be an after market item that mounts on the car somehow and can be activated by something in the dash – a button on the car stereo or something, and be sent via bluetooth to a cell phone.* Brilliant!!

I would like to take this moment to admit, most humbly, that I know nothing about camera design, windshield design, car stereo design, cell phone design, or the magical inner workings of bluetooth. That leaves my driver-view windshield to dashboard/steering wheel idea to fade away into the great void of ideas.

Unless…

Unless I could somehow transmit this grand idea to someone who knows about any combination of those things, or has someone else in their network who knows about such things and/or knows someone else who knows.

I am not an inventor, nor do I have any desire to become an inventor, so my first thought upon having this windshield camera idea was that I should start writing down every one of these ideas I have. Honestly, as a person whose hobby is thinking (and over-thinking), I have a LOT of ideas like this. Some of them are potentially possible, while others are more along the lines of, “If I ruled the world, adults would be starting their days off watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood!”

Doable or not, I believe capturing these ideas will send the message to my mind to create more of them. I may not ever bring one of them to life, but one idea leads to another, and imagination is fun by nature. Also, thinking outside your scope of daily life stretches your mind, and can even help you solve a problem that has stubbornly refused to yield to focused attention. In Karl Albrecht’s article on the “eureka” moment, he states, “Some of the most powerful ideas in the history of science came to their inventors while they were daydreaming.”

This concept doesn’t only apply to scientists. J.K. Rowling was on a delayed train when the idea of the Harry Potter series came to her in an exhillarating rush. It is true that the entire story dictated to her from an otherworldly source. It took a great deal of time, planning, writing and re-writing,
as described in this excerpt from The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time by Allen Gannett. One must wonder, however, would the Potterverse have come into being had Rowling been in a situation where her mind was not free to wander that day? If one has read the series, one might also be involved in a grand debate about Severus Snape’s redemption arc, but that heated topic might very well not exist had the author come prepared with a thrilling crossword puzzle.

I have no grandiose vision of creating the next Harry Potter while thinking about how cars should come equipped with Bluetooth windshield cameras. Still, thinking about the random allows me to live a richer life. When I shared my “idea journal,” someone mentioned the idea of having a place where all and sundry could list their moments of brilliance. What a fascinating concept! A place where idea-thinkers can plant the seed of their idea into the universe, perhaps for someone to come along and nurture it into a reality just really gets me excited.

I did a web search (naturally) and I found InventHelp, which is a site that helps a person to invent something, and if that’s what you want to do, click the link and get started! I can say I knew you when. All I ask is autograph someday that reads, “Dear Sunny, I owe it all to you!”

“The best way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas…and then throw the bad ones away.”

Linus Pauling

I would love to see the kinds of ideas you think about. The more ideas we have, the better chance there is of having a truly great one; and by standing atop each others’ shoulders, perhaps we can solve the problems of the world.

Brightest blessings, Sunny

*My husband has since informed me that there are people who use dash-cams this way. I thought they were video only. I maintain that the existence of a similar item in no way diminishes the brilliance of my idea. Hmph.

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