Thomas A. Edison said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” Edison also acted upon this statement by relaxing in a chair while holding ball bearings in one hand he would doze off. Upon entering his hypnagogic state (being the point between waking and sleeping;) he would encounter vivid visual and auditory hallucinations. Hand muscles relaxed, the balls loudly plopped to the floor jolting him awake. What followed next? Thomas carefully wrote down ideas and thoughts that drifted in his mind while under the “dreamlike spell”.
Furthermore what Willard Boyle a physicist stated is, “Any creative person - whether inventor, painter, author, or other - is a dreamer in a larger sense.” Bizarre, outrageous, outlandish, unique ideas do not deter inventors. Additionally dreams are embraced and emphasized.
Inventors consistently ask what if… What if I try this? What if I did this? What if I did it this way? What if that happened? What if I combined this and that? Inventors are out to experiment and get results. It is the process of being curious and wanting to know more. Sometimes the results are even more spectacular than one can imagine.
Inventions like the art of writing can take years to perfect and even the written project itself can take several minutes or years to form into a whole, however does the payoff come at the end of the invention or written project? Not necessarily unless that is of course the only focus, the only goal.
Each step of the inventing process is a reward, is a chance to make mistakes and learn similar to the writing process. Both inventors and writers ask themselves, how can I make it better? How can I improve what already exists? Intellectual curiosity. Both make necessary revisions.
Looking at the world through a child’s eyes is what inventors do. Ask questions and always see new possibilities. Think outside the box. Dreams, faith, determination, patience, and risk-taking are all qualities of an inventor.
Discouragement and rejection may bite inventors on the backside but keeping ideas flowing and experimenting will usually result in an attractive end product that the public will appreciate because it is the end product that the public will be able to hold and use.
How inventors get to the end product is through the process of discovery; there is a beginning, middle, and an end just like in a short story or novel. Looking further at Thomas A. Edison, he also stated, “ The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.”
So what key factors can inventors teach freelancers? Inventors teach us:
1. What if?
2. Stay in it from beginning to end
3. Look at objects/the world as children do
4. Keep dreaming and jotting down ideas and thoughts
5. Stay focused and encouraged
6. Experiment, experiment, experiment to perfection!