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Let’s Invent Something Every Day
Making an Effort to Create on a Regular Basis

Let’s Invent Something Every Day

Making an Effort to Create on a Regular Basis


Self-portrait in red chalk — Leonardo da Vinci

Imagine that you just spent a fortune on a supercar. It’s a thing of beauty. It roars like a lion when you drive it around. It’s the envy of the world. But you are so worried that it will get stolen or dinged that you promptly lock it up in a garage. And there it is, a beautiful car, slumped in the dark doing nothing but getting older. 

This sad and silly story is an analogy of what I want to talk about here, about the way most of us treat the supercomputer locked in our heads. Sure we use it, some of the time, but it’s mostly stuck in the garage.

“10 percent of the brain myth”

You most likely heard about the claim that we only use 10% of our brains. There is actually an entry in Wikipedia entitled “10 percent of the brain myth”. Apparently it was debunked, that’s too bad as always like the idea of some superpower dormant and waiting to be awoken in my head giving me access to ancient knowledge…

But, we could retitle the Wikipedia post as “we’re only using our brains 10% of the time and that’s no myth”. Let me share a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.
― Thomas Jefferson

Reading quotes like this one from luminaries, people who have worked hard and hustled, or thinking about this subject as a whole and on a regular basis as these are tools that I use to guilt myself into using my time better. 

I titled this piece “Let’s Invent Every Day”, but I am giving a wide berth to the meaning of the word “invent”. Of course, it includes digging deep within the dark confines of the mind and pull out a mysterious idea that no other human being has ever laid eyes upon… This is labeled as “original thinking” and is rare, so I am not sure how we could even recognize that. So, I’m stretching the definition to include “create anything” whether new things like AI or quantum computing where we have little context to extending or extending and updating current or past inventions.

We are not litigating patents here, instead, we are motivating ourselves to step out into the unknown and create. 

Leaving Our Comfort Zone Guided Only by Our Vision

So, whatever you are creating art, math, software, communication, it doesn’t matter, as long as you are creating, as long as you stepping beyond your habitual sphere of knowledge, basically leaving the known behind, and taking a real, an honest step into new territory, guided only by your vision or your intuition, in my opinion, you are inventing and inventing bravely. Even if this is only new to you. And sure there will be missteps, falls, dramatic fails, and there will be successes.

Nope, Gonna Fail


If you take a normally distributed curve. I love doing that, it’s a great tool and a personal source of confidence. Most of us will fall in the middle, a matter of fact, most of us will be between + and — one standard deviation of the mean which is about 70% of the cases for a normally distributed data set. So we may scoff at those that boast they will soon be billionaires (ie. one tail on the curve), but we all accept that we won’t succeed, and that is just as unlikely, the other side of the tail. We will most likely fall in that 70% in the middle, where it will be a mild success or mild failure, but it most likely won’t be an epic fail. And you keep doing it, you keep getting better, inventing more, being braver and after a while, you are mostly on the positive side of that 70%, and that is a success! 

If you don’t take any action, if you don’t invent anything out of fear of failure, then you will have failed 100% — you are n’t doing anything so there is no data, no need for a distribution curve for that. But if you try and keep trying, you will fall between +1/-1 standard deviation. This isn’t motivational anymore, its raw and simple statistics. 

Actions Speak Louder than Words

So, what can be done to help us on this journey? If we all agree that every one of us walking around this planet has a supercomputer embedded in our heads that is really good at solving problems and creating solutions, then what we need to do is point it in the right direction on a reoccurring basis. A "use your brain" reminder, if you will.

The problem is that there is so much to occupy or distract our minds. We’ll dull it through binge entertainment, eating rich foods, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and that’s too bad. I do some of those too and that’s when you a need a little discipline. If mornings are a productive time for you, make it a regular thing and sit down during that time and invent something.

I love going to bed for the mere fact that I get to meditate and think about things, go over problems and look for solutions- even bait my subconscious with intractable problems that I would love help for. I really cherish that time to ponder problems and now I try to replicate that time during the day by finding quiet places to think, create and invent just like I do while laying in bed and doing that on a regular basis. 

On my Deathbed

And talking about beds, on my deathbed, when they ask me what I regretted the most, after obviously answering more time with family and friends, I would add that I didn’t systematically attempt to invent enough. Like Da Vinci, Galileo or Copernicus, they invented all the time no matter the topic, sphere, specialty… they just invented. 

So maybe I should change the title of this piece from daily to twice-a-day? Hourly? Or how about “Let’s never stop inventing”.

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