Photo by Paleontour
One of the blogs I read, Think Simple Now, just wrote a great post about watching a man in his late 70's learn to use a brand new computer.
The Apple rep is showing him how to browse the web and set-up his first email account. The elderly man is diligently taking notes as the Apple rep gives him a tour of the fresh and foreign, online world with his newly purchased laptop...
...As the rep carefully dictates the process, the elderly man numbers “1, 2, 3” on a yellow pad, followed by step-by-step, detailed instructions.... Once finished, the elderly man articulately asks for advice on what other websites people would usually bookmark....
...[The elderly man says to the author after noticing her attention] in a polished, humbled tone, “Ahh… to be young again. I feel like I’m exploring in a desert…I’ve been here for 4 hours.” He smiles gently, his eyes gleaming.
The author writes about how inspiring it was to see someone so clearly out of his comfort zone taking on the challenge of learning a new thing - especially at an age where no one expects you to learn anything new. And she's right - it is super inspiring!
And it's also a fact: if you want to keep having great ideas throughout your life, you MUST keep pushing yourself to learn new things!
Think about it. New ideas come from making new connections between points of innovation in your brain. Each new point of information that goes into your brain creates the possibility to connect with everything already in there. And, as a result, your possibility for creativity grows exponentially every time you learn something new.
If you stop learning, you stop expanding your creative potential.
All the possibilities you will ever come up with are already inside you. You might still putter along for a long time, spitting out ideas based on sheer talent, but eventually that well will run dry.
So if you want ideas, go learn something. It doesn't matter what it is - you could be learning about using a new technology or about the astronomical impact that salt has had on the development of empires. All those things push the boundaries of your thinking, and give you that many more possible ideas.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go!