What’s the Big Idea about Ideas

Have you ever lost your train of thought mid-ride? Instead of barreling full speed ahead into your brilliant proclamation, something else popped up. Suddenly,  your enthusiasm was replaced with the panicked urgency of thinking (often out loud) “crap, crap, crap, what was I literally JUST thinking!?!?” 

We understand, completely! As Event Planners we have, at any given time, no less than twelve thousand, or more, details on our minds? Which makes the flash arrival of an untethered idea, a horribly blinding distraction. The worst is when strokes of sheer brilliancy throw us off course, embarrassing us in front of our bosses and teams while we try to stay on track. We look moronic, churning invisible butter as we try to woe and coax the original though back, squinting beyond our momentary burst of inspiration, muttering, “Sorry, now, where was I…?” 

Ideas are horrible things to have.

They are horrible because they are all great. They are. No, you know what, they are more than great. They are amazing and uniquely ours. Even if someone else had a similar notion, it wasn’t exactly like yours. Only your idea and the image or the application of the idea is yours. Ideas are part of what make you, You. 

Is it possible to conduct those trains of thought in some orderly fashion to prevent a mid lobe collision? No and nor would you want to. As James Webb Young once said “The production of ideas is just as definite a process as the production of Fords.” Ideas bring about more ideas, hence the frustration when they bonk into each other in your brain. Ideas have been recently identified as originating from three different areas of the brain, which contradicts the powerful 1960’s assumption that people were either left (analytical)  or right (creative) brained. The three areas are Attentional Control Network (Seen in the diagram in Green), which is where our ability to focus on a singular task lives…oh look, yarn…just kidding. The next area is The Imagination Network (seen in red), which can place us in the future and in the past allowing us to think fluidly. Lastly the The Attentional Flexibility Network which helps us switch back and forth between Attentional Control and Imagination networks. 


According to Rex Junge and colleagues we are able to be our most creative when the Attentional Control portion is minimized and the Flexible portion is maximized. As control loosens, new ideas can crowd our current train of thought, causing us to lose a grasp on our mental wheel.

What helps me tremendously is leaving my iphone app VoiceMemo open on the bottom bar of my phone for easy access. I have noticed that when I am feeling the most inspired, such as presenting to a client or my team, I tend to have some killer ideas. Which is also the very worst time to be distracted. So, it is not uncommon for me to speak mid-conversation into my phone very quickly, without breaking the momentum of my current conversation. Sure, it can seem  weird but I look, and most importantly feel far, less scattered. Now, whether I ever go back and listen to my self musings or act on them is neither here nor there. But almost never losing a thought is helpful, I think. 

About Aryn Chapman:

Named one of the Top 50 Smart Women in Meetings , Aryn Chapman is an accomplished event designer and producer. Her career began in theatre and film production where she honed her eye for detail and grace under pressure. Since then, Aryn has made a name for herself with her imaginative concepts, innovative themes and her ability to create unforgettable events.

Aryn has worked with a variety of international clients, producing meetings and conferences from concept to clean-up.

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