• Lijing Cobb

Good ideas

A good day is when I bring lots of good ideas to fruition. If I have a good idea and then I wait on it, chances of me carrying it out are not favorable. But if I act on the good idea as soon as it comes to me, I get the result right away. The other day I thought about doing some watercolor painting. That’s a nice idea. I have all the means in the world to make that idea into reality, but I waited. I still haven’t done any watercolor painting, and if I don’t do it today, I’ll probably wait another 20 years before I think about it again.

How often do good ideas visit us, make us feel excited and hopeful, only to be cast aside and forgotten eventually?

My son was sitting at the table working on a crossword puzzle this morning, and he called over to me and said, “mom, let’s work on this together and solve this puzzle. It’ll be so much fun!”

“That’s a great idea, but can you wait till I finish making you breakfast?” I answered. The eggs are in the pan waiting to be flipped over at just the right time. When I turned the stove off and brought the plate over to my son, he’s moved on to something else. I didn’t pursue it either. There are dishes in the sink that need to be put away.

My 7yo is practicing piano in the other room, and she trots into the kitchen where I’m busy preparing dinner. “Mom, come sit with me and listen, I want to show you something!” And I say, “I’ll listen from here. I have to cook, otherwise we won’t have dinner!” She trots away, disappointed, and starts playing from the other room, pausing often, the tune lackluster. I soon forget that I was supposed to be listening, trying to wrap up dinner preparation as best as I can.

I put off good ideas from my self and my kids more often than I dare to admit. I remember hearing Harry Chapin’s song Cat’s in the Cradle for the first time a long time ago, and sighed over the passage of time and irony of life when the role of father and son were reversed. Now I’m in the same situation where I’m constantly putting ideas on hold and fail to carry them through.

I think this is how we fail at anything. I think people who are more productive and successful are people who are always not just thinking, but relentlessly implementing their thoughts. They don’t wait.

A good idea is like a healthy seed that needs a bit of water, soil, sun, and care to sprout and grow, flower, and bear fruit. A good idea is a gift that should not be wasted. I think I’m going to accept more invitations from now on, both from myself and others. What would happen if I do just that?

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