In April 1950, Einstein’s article, “On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation” was published in Scientific American. In it, he wrote: “Once a theoretical idea has been acquired, one does well to hold fast to it until it leads to an untenable conclusion.”
Ideas can be fleeting things—especially if they arise from the inner voice. What if my life could be different? What if I’m meant for something more? These thoughts often come and go too quickly, leaving little impact in their wake.
Unless we grab hold, and refuse to let go.
“One great idea is enough to change your life,” writes life coach Sharon Boggs. “It may give you the vision of a new product to develop. It may be the title of a book you want to write. It might be a marketing idea that you’d never considered before as a way to reach your target audience. All you need to do is grab hold of that idea and develop it.”
It’s not easy. We’re creatures of habit. We get into a certain routine, a certain lifestyle, and it’s difficult to imagine breaking out. Even tougher to actually do it. That’s why we tell the young people fresh out of high school to “go live a little. See the world.” We know how much easier it is to feel free during that time of life when we don’t have jobs or families or mortgages to attend to.
But then the idea comes. A germ of a thought, like a sprout emerging from the ground in spring. Maybe I could make this dream come true. Unfortunately, right on its heels are all those other thoughts. It would be too expensive. I don’t have enough time. I have too many bills to pay. My family would never go along with it. It would be too much work to try to make it happen, and even then, there’s no guarantee.
It’s true that some ideas are best left alone. Especially if one has a creative mind, ideas may pop up on a regular basis. (How about we raise an elephant?) Not all are worth great investments of our time. But what if one idea keeps coming back? What if one idea keeps ringing in your ear like the chorus of an old pop tune?
“One thing I’ve learned in my years here at the Indiana General Assembly,” writes Senator Dennis Kruse, “is that good ideas are like boomerangs. They may run into a roadblock now and then, but if they’re truly good, they will keep coming back.”
If you have a recurring idea ringing in your mind, it can be tortuous—unless you follow it through. Trying to decide whether or not you should take action, or ignoring the voice completely, can keep you in a constant state of unrest.
“Indecision makes an unsettled mind,” writes Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. “We do not worry over conditions, once we have reached a decision to follow a definite line of action.”
How do you know if the idea is good? How do you know if you should pursue it? Ask yourself two questions:
- Do I believe this idea could work?
- If I don’t at least try, will I be all right with that twenty years from now?
In the end, if you’re still wavering, you may want to err on the side of action. “Experience alone,” wrote Einstein, “can decide on truth.”