Capturing lightning is hard

When the brain is in a creative state it resembles a thunderstorm:

For these reasons we should be ready to receive whatever arrives. Even if we’re deeply focused on intercontinental frog migrations we should be open to having a salient and spontaneous thought about how language reflects culture and some cultures may therefore be better equipped to tackle certain problems. Or indeed anything else

Environmental issues can lower our altitude (the likelihood of lightning striking), inefficiencies in our Tools for thought can neuter our ability to capture any useful portion of its energy.

a single lightning strike, while fast and bright, contains very little energy by the time it gets down to earth Martin A. Uman, co-director of the Lightning Research Laboratory at the University of Florida

One of the difficulties of capturing lightning is the variable and unpredictable amount of energy that arrives with each strike. When it comes to capturing our thoughts, if we set our focus squarely on trying to capture the big ideas when they strike, we are bound to miss the smaller ideas (lower energy) that in aggregate may deliver a larger proportion of the energy in a storm.

“the energy in a thunderstorm is comparable to that of an atomic bomb, but trying to harvest the energy of lightning from the ground is hopeless”

So rather than simply, and unreliably, trying to capture the odd flash of lightning that reaches the ground – less than 20% of lightning strikes reach the ground (citation needed) – we should try and get into the storm itself.

The (strained) metaphor: