Every once in a while I am faced with a challenge that sparks my curiosity more than others. I become obsessed with it. I think about it every day. I drink it with my morning coffee, breathe it when I go outside, and I sleep on it at the end of the night with the promise that I will pick it back up the next morning.
I'm ashamed to admit that more often than not, I'm trying to find an elegant, yet grandiose solution that will change everything. An explanation so concise that it can be expressed with a simple sentence. An approach so fantastic that I have to share with everyone.
The problem with this kind of idea is that they are usually vague, immature, and almost always rooted in fantasy. You couldn't pierce such an idea with an invisible needle, because it would evaporate right before your eyes.
But these ideas keep me alive, they provide me with enough incentive to keep me engaged. They take fascinating shapes and make interesting noises. They are invisible but always feel like I am three diagrams and two essays away from making them concrete.
At the beginning, I find myself lost in thought in the middle of my day fantasizing about the dream solution. But as time progresses, the problem becomes more concrete and the novelty of the idea slowly fizzles out. At the end of it I'm left with the final product. Not groundbreaking as I imagined it, but pretty solid.
For me, clever ideas are not the vehicle, they are the fuel.