Robert Alan Black : Zap Out of the Blue
Zap Out of the Blue
By Robert Alan Black, Ph.D.
"I was taking a shower
"I was just waking up
"I was jogging
"I was drinking
Have any of these happened to you?
Have you been walking, jogging, showering, dreaming, driving when "Zap! Out of the Blue" came an idea,
a solution, a hint
Most of us have these things happen to us. Some of us pay attention to them and some of us turn them
into solutions that often lead to great success and possibly fame. Yet the greatest percentage of us say
"ho hum another strange idea" and
There are many theories about why these happen...
Are you taking advantage of your "Zaps From Out of the Blue"? Do you write them down immediately? Do
you put them into action immediately or reprioritize and set them into your plans for that
If you aren't, why aren't you?
If you are how are you capturing them?
Do you write them down on anything that is handy: a piece of paper, an index card, a Post-It™
note, the shower stall glass, the mirror? Do you then plan for when you will do something
These are your sub-conscious creative mind helping you. Let it help you while you
First for the next 7 to 14 days take 15 minutes each day to think about what are
your "Zaps!" Write them down. Examine them to see if there is a pattern, a specific time, any specific
conditions. Are you always relaxed? Are you working on other things unrelated to the problem the ideas
come for at the time? Are you practicing any ritual or habit... yoga, walking, exercising, drinking
coffee, sipping on a
The answers to these questions very well may give you clues for how to deliberately cause more
"Zaps!" to happen for
Second, develop a system(s) or method(s) for recording the "Zap!" ideas when they
happen. Make sure you have the necessary tools and resources to
Third, take a few moments when they happen to jot down one to 3 to 5 steps of how
you will take the idea(s) further towards solutions. Perhaps you might take a moment to think about the
resources you will need. Or you might take a moment or two to visualize or imagine yourself doing the
idea and look for the resources you will need
Fourth, DO IT!!!
An example of using this plan happened the morning I wrote this article. I was practicing one of my
morning rituals/habits reviewing over-night email messages, downloading overflow from my server's
computer to mine while I am reading from a book
This morning I was reading Paul Plsek's new Creativity,
Innovation and Quality published by ASQ while my computer was downloading files. One phrase
The "Zap!" jumped right at me. Here was the idea that sparked this short article. I wrote down a
Post-It note to use later. Took a couple moments to think when I would use it and when I would write
I chose to push things aside because I was leaving to go out of town for a few days to work with a
client and probably wouldn't be able to get to it for a few days. I immediately started writing down
my thoughts into an email message to Andy. I got it about 3/4's done when I hit a bad combination of
keys and disconnected myself from my Internet server ............... and lost everything
I then quickly made a couple notes about what I had already written and decided I would do it later
after I got a few things that had to be done during the next two hours and could not be done at
In other words, writing this article was an example of practicing what I am "preaching". Learn how
you get your "Zaps!". Capture them.
The result? You'll be using much more of your creativeness and working much less. Best wishes for a
© 1990 Robert Alan Black, Ph.D.
Robert Alan Black, Ph.D. is a Creative Thinking Consultant and his company is Cre8ng People, Places & Possibilities. More »