Updated: Mar 4, 2020
It was a nice and sunny day in the Algarve region of Portugal. My wife Bettina and I just had lunch in a nice cafe, place called „Noa“. I was positively surprised about their healthy lunch choices and delicious salads. As we were sitting there enjoying our food, my wife was observing some of their decoration and furniture. Since Bettina's profession is Interior Design, with lots of experience in this field built up over many years, along with a good eye and detailed knowledge on decoration and home improvement, she typically observes very deeply and has then moments of inspiration or suggestions of improvements.
This is when I got an idea:
What if we would actually write down these intuitive insights of what was well done and 2-3 ideas or impulses on how something could be improved further and share this valuable feedback with the owner of this cafe?
As these ideas or impulses usually originate from within a deeper state of intuition along with a positive intention, they convey an igniting and creative spark with the potential to improve or transform something or someone in a positive way. However, this can only happen if this impulse is systematically recorded and then shared. Obviously still, the receiver would need to take action and follow-up, but this is up to the receiver to review the idea and decide whether or not it is helpful.
I started to brainstorm this idea in more detail with Bettina, and realized its overall power and potential. Imagine that Bettina, who is an expert and has a deep experience in interior design, would make it a habit to write down a few of these feedback and improvement impulses when visiting a place or meeting with people, and share it with the corresponding recipient who could benefit from the information (e.g. owner of the cafe), and doing this without expecting anything back in return. Such a compassionate impulse has a transformative power and energy, when shared with a positive intention and a mindset of no expectations. When the recipients of this impulse receives 2-3 valuable ideas along with the energy that is behind it, there is a chance that this can spark some action, and therefore transform something in a positive way.
Think about the impact:
If you do this regularly and make it a habit of sharing up to 3 ideas per day to one or more persons, this would sum up to 90 impulses per month that you send to possibly 30 to 90 different people. But even if you do 3 ideas per week or just 3 ideas per month, this still is better than not doing it at all! The intention of course has to be positive.
In economics and business there is the concept of a „conversion rate“ - in this case the percentage of ideas that people followed up on and took action (from the overall number of ideas presented.) Those ideas where people take action on may result in some positive change and transformation occurs. If that conversion rate were for example 10%, that means that 9 (out of 90) ideas a month could lead to a positive change on this planet - isn't that a remarkable potential? Now multiply this by the number of people who read this article (you!) and take action on trying to make this system a personal habit. This truly has transformative power!
The reason I felt strongly about the opportunity of implementing this idea is that when observing the quality of these impulses, it seems like a waste if they vanish into a void, when they are not written down and shared. It is a therefore a big waste of opportunity and potential of transformational change or growth.
If I remember all the times and occasions I was visiting places with my wife and every time she had these ideas or inspirations on how to make a place look nicer or more inviting. However, if she would have shared these ideas with the owner of these places, in a simple way of writing them down on a card, and sharing them as a gift, I’m sure the world would have been a much nicer place to live in by now.
The concept of sharing three ideas per day can be applied to different domains of expertise. A nutritionist could observe what you‘re eating and share with you 2-3 relevant tips that would improve your diet. As a technology leader myself I could use it as a tool to provide more systematically feedback to my team.
In healthcare patients could provide feedback on how they were treated or if they felt welcomed and cared for...the list goes on an on.
Here are some examples of possible results from these transformative impulses, and how they can make the world a better place to live in:
a restaurant owner changes his decoration and adds a few nice paintings, and ambient lighting, that complement the overall style. Or, she improves the choices on the menu, food quality, or composition of menu items.
a person starts to exercise more regularly or starts eating a more healthier and nutritious diet.
a mother incorporates a new mindful parenting technique that improves the relationship with her daughter.
Parents point out things they appreciate to their children or what can be improved and vice versa.
Introducing a System for Sharing 3 Transformative Ideas per Idea
To maximize its impact I‘m thinking of implementing the above idea as a system to form a new habit, and encourage you to try it out as well:
Step 1: Reflect on your Expertise
First, determine what area you have a deep expertise in or simply strong intuition in improving something for the better. This can usually be based on your profession or hobby you are most passionate about. For example, if you‘re a cook you may have a delicate taste and can make suggestions on recipes or food. Or, if you an interior designer or artist, you have an eye to see the beauty in things and its potential. If you are a coach or mentor who works with people, you have probably developed intuitive insights on personal transformation opportunities and are able to spot the growth potential in someone quickly.
Step 2: Observe, Reflect, and Ideate
Over the course of a day, notice if you get inspired by something or someone you had interacted with. Then go into yourself and reflect what ideas emerge:
Notice what has been done well or what is already very good. Write down 2-3 such things that come first to mind without much thinking.
Now feel into your intuition and write down 2-3 things that person or surrounding context could potentially grow or improve for the better of all. Don‘t overthink it. The question to ask is, whether this new idea adds value overall to this planet if implemented properly.
Step 3: Write it Down
Then write the feedback and ideas on a card (or paper) in a clear and concise format.
Here is an example:
Thanks again for serving me this morning a delicious breakfast - I really enjoyed it!
What I liked:
- Everything at your place looks clean and inviting, nice furniture and design.
- A healthy selection of fresh juices, along with salads and other vegetarian options, reasonably priced.
- A variety of breakfast items and choices that are not overwhelming, but caters to different tastes.
Here are a few ideas or suggestions for improvements:
- For the oatmeal choice to make it more well-rounded from a nutritional perspective try to add a handful of nuts (e.g., hazelnut, cashews) and fresh berries (e.g. blueberries) on the side. Add also 10-15 grams of flaxseeds, and increase the amount of chia.
- Offer a choice of „bulletproof coffee“ - basically adding healthy fats and MCT oil to it. Google for it to find out more details on the ingredients. It has lots of health benefits and tastes delicious!
Hope the feedback and ideas are helpful. We appreciated your great service!
A friendly guest and supporter
This will probably take about a 5 minute investment of your time to write it down. To get started a simple and plain postcard style paper will do. Obviously the better quality the paper, the more valuable it will look, which in turn may increase the perceived value of the idea. I will therefore experiment with a few printed cards with different templates / designs for different occasions / types of feedback, to make this easier and minimize the overall time spent.
Step 4: Share it with the person!
For example, in a restaurant ask for the owner or someone who can forward the note to the owner. If it is a person, kindly share it directly to the person as a gift.
Be thankful that the other person was open to receive the ideas and the feedback, and don‘t expect anything back. If the person asks you on how to pay you back for this, simply ask that they at a later point do the same to someone else- basically the pay-it-forward principle.
If the person is not interested in receiving the idea(s) for whatever reason, don‘t take it personally. It is not under your control how the other person reacts. The important part is that you took action.
Also feel free to share the idea on social media or on your blog with the world. It might be the case that others could benefit from that idea or impulse as well - one never knows!
To sum up:
If you make this system of sharing valuable feedback and impulses for improvement a daily habit, I think it has the transformative power to improve our planet.
One card per day of even per week can generate a big outcome if applied regularly and consistently. But even if you do it once and an action has been taken, you already impact this planet in a positive way!
The proposed ideas should leverage your unique talent and expertise. Use your intuition to come up with impulses and don‘t overthink them. This way they come out of deep and creative state and are high quality.
I will start and experiment with different formats of cards, to make the system easy to use. You need to have a card handy all the time and something to write. This is probably the biggest hurdle.
I will keep you posted on subsequent posts on results, feedback of people using it, and follow-up on interesting ideas, and ways to improve the system.
Hope you are inspired by now - please give it a try and share your experiences! Feel free to use the #share3ideas hashtag to share the posts on social media like Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Q: 3 ideas a day seems like a lot. I‘m happy if I can produce one a week.
A: That’s totally ok and still creates a positive impact on this world! First, quality over quantity, and don‘t stress on it. Have fun - ideas are usually not generated on demand. They come from a deeper sense or intuition within you. For inspirational purpose I determined 3 ideas on average a day is a good motto to get started.
Q: I often times have ideas later after visiting a place or interacting with someone.
A: You can also act at a later stage. Simply find a quiet time to write down the ideas on a card at later time, and share it at the next best occasion.
Q: I‘m not sure whether the idea is really good, as I don‘t have all the data. For example, I may decide that adding nuts to a recipe could be good to increase the amount of healthy fats and protein. But that person may have a nuts allergy.
A: Don‘t worry about this too much. Write down ideas as they appear and don‘t think about the outcome. Yes, in the example a person may have an allergy and would likely not use it. However, that impulse may result in some other good outcome that you can‘t foresee. Imagine, that this person has a friend and shares this idea with her, so someone else could benefit from it. Point is that you cannot control what happens with your idea or anticipate all possible outcomes. Instead focus on the potential of an idea and whether it feels like a good idea, which seems helpful and worthwhile to be shared.
Q: Should I leave my name, email or phone number on the card so that the person can reach me in case of later questions?
A: This depends on your preference. There is certainly the possibility that if you leave your contact info on the note that people may have follow-up questions or are even interested in doing some business with you. This of course can be a good thing. However, it could also look like a form of advertising in disguise (but certainly a creative one!), especially if your name or brand is printed dominantly. The original motivation was to do it without any expectations. By adding your name or contact details to the note this could be seen as a backdoor, where you expect some follow-up or value in return. Therefore I recommend to not add contact details to the card. Instead if you are presenting the card to the person, and naturally a discussion starts where towards the end the person is interested in staying in touch with you for follow up, you always have the option to share your business card or contact details at this point. However, adding the hashtag #share3ideas could be useful so people catch up online on the concept of sharing 3 ideas.