“Sometime’s I’m riding shotgun. Sometimes I’m in the f — ing trunk. The idea takes you where it wants to go.” -Dave Chappelle
I’ve written before about coming up with ideas, and what to do when they find us. But every creator knows that’s only half the battle.
There’s a natural tendency to try and take control of our ideas and mold them into the work we want. We may already have a vision for a particular outcome and believe our idea must be the answer we’ve been waiting for. We say, “Hey, thanks creative brain. What a fantastic idea…No, no, you’ve done enough. Ego and I will take it from here…”
We say, “Hey, thanks creative brain. What a fantastic idea…No, no, you’ve done enough. Ego and I will take it from here…”
It’s no wonder that so often the magic of the idea is diminished in the finished product. This happens when we try and take control of our ideas too soon. Often, the best we can do is get out of the way and just let the idea drive.
Here’s a great exchange between Dave Chappell and Jerry Seinfeld, discussing this very notion:
CHAPPELLE: Sometimes the offering drives. If I [have] an idea, it should drive. It’s like the idea says, “Get in the car.” And I’m like, “Where am I going?” And the idea says, “Don’t worry, I’m driving.” And then you just get there.
SEINFELD: The idea’s driving.
CHAPPELLE: Sometime’s I’m shotgun. Sometimes I’m in the f — ing trunk. The idea takes you where it wants to go.
SEINFELD: That’s great.
CHAPPELLE: And then other times, there’s me, and it’s my ego, like, “I should do something!”
SEINFELD: “I should be driving!”
SEINFELD: That’s not good.
CHAPPELLE: No, ’cause there’s no idea in the car. It’s just me. That formula doesn’t work.
SEINFELD: If the idea is in the car honking, going, “Let’s go…” It pulls up in front of your house.
CHAPPELLE: That’s exactly right.
SEINFELD: “You’re in your pajamas. Get dressed!”
CHAPPELLE: “I’m not ready!” “You can go like this.” “Where are we going? What are we doing?” “Don’t worry about it. You’ll see.”
When working toward making your ideas a reality, don’t be afraid be to ride shotgun. Put your ego in the back seat and enjoy the view. Your idea has a scenic route in mind that just might make all the difference.
Want lessons like this in your inbox?
This post is an example of the Creativity Equals Freedom newsletter: A twice-a-week, distilled lesson on how to think different, dream BIG, and live a creativity-fueled life. Subscribe here.