The human body and the human brain are incredible things. Have you ever stopped to think about what makes us tick? Really, what makes the body work? What gives us consciousness? What keeps our hearts pumping? How do our bodies and brains work together to keep us alive? Why is food fuel for our bodies? Why isn’t fuel fuel for our bodies? Why can’t my car run on fruits and vegetables? Thinking about these things fascinates me.
I am also fascinated by my own memories…or lack thereof. I’ve never had a “lizard brain.” That is, I can’t remember a time that I had a solid memory of the distant past (oh, the irony.)
Obviously all of our bodies and brains are profoundly different. If they weren’t, life would be pretty mundane and boring as our individual identities are what makes it worth getting up in the morning. Part of what makes me different is my inability to recall specific details from 10+ years ago.
Luckily for me, some of my friends have ridiculous lizard brains. I recently ran into one of these friends and while reminiscing she mentioned a name that I hadn’t thought of in 20 years.
What happened next provided inspiration beyond belief. Just by hearing his name, I started to recall a few details about that time in my life. I started to vaguely recall an idea for a business that this friend and I had.
We were only 13, and the year was only 1994, but we wanted to start a greeting card company. More specifically, an online greeting card company. Without realizing it at the time, we had independently come up with the idea of the e-card. Obviously I’m not writing this from the Blue Mountain headquarters, so you can imagine how far we got in the process. Things like school and sports and girls and high school inevitably got in the way.
But what I took from recalling this memory (and have since verified simply by reading the history of the e-card) was that we weren’t the only ones who had that idea. In fact, like most ideas, many people were likely contemplating the exact same thing at the exact same time. The simple difference is that we didn’t have the vision of the future. We didn’t realize what we were about to witness with regard to the birth of the Internet, the dot com bubble, MySpace, Facebook & Google. If we did, surely we’d have been the ones to sell our company for $780m in 1999, just 5 years after having our idea.
This memory (and apparent loss of over three quarters of a billion dollars) helps me to focus today and to think about what will the future look like? What idea is staring us in the face right now, surely to be developed and brought to market? Think about it – there are countless things that will be invented and tweaked and brought to market in the future during our lifetime. Some of these things are likely staring you in the face, even as you read these words.