One way is for me to be in discussion. I’ve been in meetings or simply having a conversation with another person. In the midst of the discussion, I’ll have an idea that seems to pop up from out of the air. But I generally attribute it to the “Lively Art of Conversation”. It is my opinion that my mind goes into action when prompted by discussion. If I had been simply sitting gazing off into space, I’m not certain that the same idea would have come to the forefront of my brain. I find that I am mentally simulated during conversation and ideas arrive.
Another way is when ideas are revealed to me when I’m asleep. It has happened enough times that I regard it as a “place where ideas are born”. Previously, I tried to analyze the process in order to determine the genesis of it all. I had reasoned that an idea likely came because of something that happened before I fell asleep, watching TV, reading a book, or reviewing work papers. But I have decided that ideas totally unrelated to my pre-sleep activities came to me during my sleep state. Actually, I love this process because I am energized by the thoughts and the ideas that I received. It’s as if they are sitting and waiting for me to open my eyes and begin a new day. It’s like hearing the sound of birds chirping to herald in the morning and the prospect of tremendous things to come.
One more is when I have gotten a vision of something while I have been attending a totally unrelated event. This one might seem a bit strange but for me it is very real. One example…recently, I was at a leadership retreat and all of the attendees were watching and listening to a video. All of a sudden, I got a vision of an idea. It turned out that the vision was totally unrelated to the video or the retreat. That idea led to a significant series of life-changing events.
As a result, I’ve concluded that there is no rhyme or reason as to how ideas show up for me. I attribute them to God and His desire to “Wow” me. As a result, I try to stay open to what He wants to convey. I’ve also learned that I can go with an idea or not. My sense is that God is going to make it reality with or without me. If I say “Yes”, I get to go along for the ride.