How To Entertain An Idea

We spend the bulk of our day in the idea-free zone. Wake up, get ready, go to work, complete our tasks. Update spreadsheets, catch up on correspondence, endure meetings.

In between – small talk with colleagues, a funny Facebook video, a personal call or e-mail.

Maybe a quick workout before coming home, eating, and zoning out to soothe our tired minds with mindless entertainment.

Ideas come to us during these times, but we easily ignore them, dismiss them as too crazy or difficult to act on, resist them if they require work or change. Or maybe you actually write them down … and then file them away under “future.”

Life only starts to move forward – and “future” only becomes present reality – when we find a way to indulge and act on our best ideas, those unexpected visitors that bless us with their presence in the shower, on the uphill stretch of our morning run, during the dullest part of a long business meeting, on the long commute home, or in the dark middle of a sleepless night.

Ideas come and go all the time. Here are some suggestions to pay closer attention to how you treat them.

When an idea comes to you, don’t reject it.

An idea will never reward you if you ignore it or put it off for when you think you’ll have more time.

To unleash the power of an idea, you have to entertain it.

Treat the idea as an honored guest.

Open your door and greet the idea with a wide smile and open arms.

Welcome the idea into the home of your consciousness, and give it the grand tour.

Offer the idea the best seat in your house, the one with the view.

Serve it your signature appetizers, and uncork your best bottle of wine, yes, the one you’ve been saving.

Break out the good china and serve the idea an elegant meal, taking time to converse between courses.

Be a good listener, and take the time to find out what the idea is all about.

After the meal, suggest brandy and cigars (if you smoke) as a postprandial treat.

Make the idea feel special, and get it good and relaxed.

This is no time for stinginess, so that means “Yes” to seconds on the after-dinner drink.

When you’ve fulfilled your duties as a generous host and done everything you can to make the idea feel comfortable and appreciated, that’s when the idea will loosen up and start to get down with you.

And then the miracle happens.

The idea starts to become real.





And finally . . .


And it is then that idea will ask you, “May I stay the night?”

You have no choice but to make up the bed in your guest room.

You turn down the sheets, and search for a chocolate or mint to place on the pillow.

You make sure the idea has a nice warm blanket, an interesting book or magazine, light to read by.

“Toothbrush? No problem. I have a spare.”

“Cup of tea before bed? No trouble at all. In fact, I’ll join you.”

“Anything else? No? Goodnight then. Sweet dreams.”

Now if you do all this, if you open your home and yourself fully, if you spare no effort and expense to see to it that the idea is well and truly entertained, here is what will happen.

Just as you’re falling asleep in your bed, the idea will tread softly into your bedroom and ask, “Can I be in here? With you?”

And that’s when the fun really starts!

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Leave A Reply (8 comments So Far)

  •  Tom, What an amazing way to entertain an idea. I really enjoyed this article! I need to do a much better job of entertaining my ideas. Thank you! 

  •  Dondi, I’m delighted you liked the article and hope it inspires you – and others – to entertain, develop, and execute all our great ideas.

  • Okay, so I was not surprised to see you have a Master’s degree in creative writing! That was such a beautiful, creative invitation to us all. Thank you for the permission to treat our ideas like honored guests.

    • Gina, Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope everyone will be as receptive to the invitation as you are.

  • Creative -playful – and powerful! Tom, a delightful read that takes us far beyond using a spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down … to a pure indulgence. Love it!

    • Thanks, Mollie! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. 

  • Anonymous

    What a great read!  I love the practice of dating our ideas that you’ve outlined.  Thanks.

    • Ashley, Thanks! I love how you’ve taken entertaining a step further to dating. Perfect!