August 22

Commonplace Book

Brilliant creative pros are typically skilled collectors of inspiration. They clip things from magazines, have a repository of screenshots on their desktop, or keep a text file (or even boxes of index cards) full of quotes for future use. This repository is called a “commonplace book,” and in some form, it’s been practiced for centuries by some of the most recog- nized creatives, scientists, and leaders.

The benefits of a commonplace book are countless. It provides something to peruse when you are in need of inspiration. It reminds you of old ideas that weren’t quite right at the moment but might be ready for primetime now. And it is a kind of record of your creative and intellectual curiosity over time.

Whether you choose to do it digitally (I do) or physically, start keeping a commonplace book. Add to it whenever you come across something that piques your interest or that inspires you. Keep your own fragments of ideas inside it, especially if they aren’t quite ready to be seen by the world. Then make it a practice to review your commonplace book regularly to spark new insights.

We learn within the context of what we already know. We create within the context of what has already inspired us.

Keep inspirational items in a place where you can review them often.


What should you add to your commonplace book today?

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