To get ahead in life, whether career or home or education or avocation, you need to innovate. No matter what the circumstances and direction, things will go wrong and you'll need solutions to the problems.

The foundation of innovation is creativity. There are things researchers know about the process, for example, it's the result of having new and varied experiences and knowledge come together in ways you haven't before seen. But how do you make that happen?

Filmmaker David Lynch, known for such projects as Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive, is known for his creative bent. In two recorded interviews from the past, he explained his theory of how ideas come and the ways of attracting them. Here are the two recordings, with a summary of the ideas following them:


Here's the summary.

Ideas are like fish

"Everything we do starts with an idea," Lynch said. "So, ideas are like fish. You don't make the fish. You catch the fish."

You have to convince them to come to you. Lynch said that having the desire for an idea is like sitting with a baited hook to see what will bite.

"You can catch ideas from daydreaming, or you can catch ideas from places," he said. "If you think that maybe a place could conjure ideas, then you have to go out of the house and go traveling."

Once you're on the way, there's no telling when or how it could happen. It might come as you daydream, or maybe, when walking down the street, you'll see a reflection in a puddle and something will hit you. At that point, you need a notepad to write it down so you don't lose it. And, as researchers into creativity will point out, you need to feed yourself on new experiences, thoughts, skills, and knowledge, because it's the collision of unusual combinations that spark ideas. If you don't bring in anything new, you won't be able to remain creative.

There isn't one single big strike

There isn't one single idea that comes in a whole piece. They come piece at a time. Having some ideas will start to attract others, like baiting for bigger fish with smaller ones, except you don't lose the smaller fish. Everything can go into your ultimate project. "More and more come in and pretty soon you might have a script," Lynch said. "Or a chair. Or a painting. Or an idea for a painting."

Forget some stereotypes, like the need for suffering. Although often a popular thought with artists, suffering actually slows the process of catching ideas. The more you're enjoying the process, the easier it is to catch additional ideas.

Also, ideas aren't something you make up. You catch them, which gives a Socratic philosophical twist to the whole thing. The ideas exist before you. In other words, they aren't new. It's what you do with them that might be different.

Be ready to piece things together

Taking the pre-existing concept a bit further, Lynch thinks of piecing together these fragmentary ideas together like sitting next door to a room with a puzzle that has all the pieces in place. One at a time, a person in that room flips pieces over to you one at a time. You still have to fit them together to recreate the structure and see how they work together as a whole.

There's plenty of work to do in being creative, but the most fundamental, the gathering of the ideas, can happen for you, if you make yourself receptive and notice the gems as they come in.