Just Do Something Anyway. Chase It. Seek It. Take Action.
This is an article about the content of the book “How to Get Ideas” by Jack Foster, a person who worked at a major advertising agency in the United States. The book was translated into Japanese by Tsukiko Aoshima.
Our company name was inspired by this book, as we decided to choose a name related to ideas.
The book is about “how to generate ideas,” presented in a structured manner through numerous episodes and anecdotes.
One of the stories featured in the book is about a female student from Robert M. Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (another excellent book, by the way). She was assigned a 500-word report about America but couldn’t think of anything to write.
Her teacher then suggested that she write about the street where the school was located, but she still drew a blank. Next, the teacher suggested writing about the main street of that town. Still, she couldn’t write.
Finally, the teacher said, “Let’s focus on a building on that street. Start your story from the leftmost brick on the top of that building.” In the next class, she submitted a 5,000-word report.
She recalled sitting in a hamburger shop across the street from the building, starting with the first brick and, as she reached the second, third, and so on, ideas started flowing, and her pen couldn’t keep up.
Pirsig wrote that she had been stuck because she thought she had to write what she knew. She hadn’t initially realized that she could write based on her own perceptions, what she felt.
In summary, we often find ourselves constrained by our knowledge and experiences, thinking, “It has to be this way, or else that will happen.” Perhaps this story teaches us to momentarily put those thoughts aside and try doing things the way we feel, even if we make mistakes.
Furthermore, if what you want to do seems too big to achieve, break it down into smaller steps and start with what you can. This story might be telling us that as well.
Compared to other stories in “How to Get Ideas,” this episode might seem somewhat ordinary. However, this seemingly ordinary story has left a strong impression on me, and I often recall it. Perhaps it’s because I’m using this episode as my inspiration to write this humble piece.
This book contains many other fascinating stories. It’s highly recommended for those looking to generate ideas. I, too, am considering reading it carefully once again.
Finally, a passage from this book:
“But be warned. All these people are saying the same thing: ‘Just do something. Don’t sit idly, waiting for ideas to come to you. Chase them. Apply yourself. Seek them out. Take action.'”