The smart one takes notes. The dumb one remembers

In 2003 I worked as a comic artist for an advertising agency. My boss at the time, Andrea, noticed that I was taking notes on my drawings during all our meetings and every brief feedback. She said this sentence, “The smart one writes it down, the dumb one remembers it,” which has remained in my memory. So often, we forget things. Yet we were so sure we would remember. Then we get annoyed when we have to ask the customer or teacher.

But taking notes is not only helpful in conversations with others. Without a notebook or sketchbook, a thinking mind is like a gold panning sieve with large holes. So many creative ideas, clever ideas, and ideal solutions slip through our fingers because we haven’t captured them at the moment. This can be recognized because long-forgotten thoughts jump at us when we browse our old notebooks.

On the other hand, we can also see it like Stephan King, who says: “A writer’s notebook is the best way in the world to immortalize bad ideas. My idea about a good idea is one that sticks around and sticks around and sticks around.” So maybe we just need the fat gold nuggets in the sieve after all? The fat fish in the pond?

Good ideas want to be found

Good ideas don’t come to us and don’t just strike us like lightning. Good ideas want to be found. They hide behind the obvious, the mundane, the banal. They lie beneath the surface.

To find them, we have to dig. Sometimes with our bare hands. As gold diggers, we work our way through the surface. In the search, we can despair, for it is arduous and sweaty. Sometimes we come across a lump of gold, only to realize that it’s just a light-colored clod of the earth. We want to give up, but we can’t. We know it must be here somewhere. So we keep digging and digging until we reach the place where no one has been before. Then we climb back up and show the world our treasure.