I’ve collected various things throughout my life. I had a pretty large hat collection when I was in middle school (perhaps 100 hats), and I still have many thousands of baseball cards. Those were fun collections to build and hold.
Lately, though, I’ve been working on a new collection — ideas.
In “Steal Like an Artist“, that is precisely what author Austin Kleon says that we should be doing:
“Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.”
There are two important pieces to what he’s suggesting.
First, there is “more you can choose from to be influenced by”. Collecting more ideas means you’ll be seeing more viewpoints, which generally is a great way to have better opinions. I want to see things from every angle and then change my mind if I find that my old opinion was incorrect.
Second, it gives me more to learn from and share. Collecting good ideas is a great start, but digging through them and combining new ideas with old ones is where I often find gold. If you can develop a system to store ideas in a way that resurfaces them with new ones (like I try to do with Roam Research), the results can be fantastic.
Collections are fun to build. You might collect shot glasses, coins, or antique cars, but working on your collection of ideas is one that is free, easy to build, and will serve you well in many facets of life.