“Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.” — Jim Rohn
Look around you… EVERYTHING you see started off as an idea in someone’s imagination. Every product, service, piece of art, invention, song, book, poem, sculpture [you get the picture] was first born in someone’s head.
That’s the power of ideas. They create things we love, they solve problems, they provide a fresh perspective, and they can change your world [even the world]. Ideas can generate money, create influence, strengthen relationships, and increase your knowledge.
It’s why sharpening your idea-generating muscle is a very smart thing to do.
When you can come up with ideas at will, you’ll always be able to find your way through a solution. You’ll always be able to keep moving forward – even during your rock bottom moments. Just imagine the impact that ability could have on your life? Imagine always having an answer, always being able to create options, and always having the foresight to see what could be done.
Yes! Idea-generation can increase your personal power and give you more control over your life.
But I hear you!
Idea generation can be seriously hard – especially if it’s something you believe you don’t do especially well. It’s true; some people were seemingly born idea-generators!
The rest of us…
Well, that’s something we have to work at!
But the good news is you CAN train your brain to generate ideas at will. That’s because idea-generation isn’t a natural talent alone. Instead, it’s a skill you can nurture and cultivate.
And in this blog, I’m going to show you how.
1. Create an idea-generating habit
If you’ve never lifted weights, you can’t expect yourself to suddenly raise a 20lb bar in the gym!
But build a weight lifting habit where you gradually increase the weight as your muscles get stronger, and in time your PB will get heavier and heavier.
It’s the same with ideas…
In the beginning, you may find yourself scratching around for suggestions. More than that, you’ll judge yourself too – telling yourself that your ideas are ‘rubbish’ or they’ll never work.
When the inner critic goes into overdrive, it quickly shuts down your creative thought processes. And if you’re not careful, you will draw a blank each time you’re faced with a problem.
If you want to be able to generate good ideas when you need them, you have to make idea generation a habit. That way you can rely on yourself to lift those heavy weights when you really need to.
So how do you build this habit?
The simplest way is to weave idea generation into your morning routine. In the same way you do journaling, daily planning, or yoga, schedule time in your planner where you do nothing but focus on creating ideas.
This is easier than it sounds with the Edison Deck.
This powerful idea-generating tool contains 100 different idea generating prompts. Simply pull a card, grab your notebook, and write down 10 different ideas.
This practice isn’t about generating ideas to a problem you currently face (although it could be). Instead, your Edison Deck daily practice is about working that idea muscle – by giving you prompts that get you thinking.
Here are three examples [included in the Edison Deck] of problems to solve:
- 10 things to start a podcast about
- 10 businesses you could start for under $100
- 10 things you’re grateful for right now
The key with this daily practice is to NOT censor yourself. It’s inevitable that some of the ideas you write down will be unworkable and… pretty rubbish! But that doesn’t matter. It’s why Einstein was ‘happy’ to discover 10,000 ways NOT to make a lightbulb!
The key is quantity… because the more ideas you have, the more likelihood there will be of you finding that gem.
But that’s not all…
Have you ever noticed that you’ve got to get through a load of junk before you discover the diamond? It’s the same with idea-generation. It’s not unusual for the first batch of ideas to be the superficial and obvious ones – those that required little thought or effort.
But push through this initial level, force yourself to think harder, and watch what happens!
That’s why we encourage you to write down at least 10 ideas.
Because the deeper you think, the more brain power you invest and the better the ideas that emerge. It’s incredible how much further you can push yourself when you’re up against the wall. Your brain can always go a step further than you first think. So stick to the 10 ideas target and don’t let yourself off the hook.
Your brain will become all the sharper because of it – and the ideas add up. Imagine the shift this habit could create in your life.
- 1 week = 70 ideas
- 1 month = 300 ideas
- 1 year = 3650 ideas
What are the chances that at least one of those will be life-changing for you?
2. Be with the discomfort
As humans, we love our comfort zones! They’re called comfort zones for a reason – because it’s where we feel safe and feel confident we won’t get hurt.
There’s just one problem…
Yow won’t grow if you stay inside what you know, but every time you to commit to a new habit, you’re forced to change.
It’s why your new idea-generating habit is going to push some buttons. Initially, you’ll feel enthusiastic and excited. You’ll enjoy the process — and you’ll get value from it.
But if you’re not mindful, you can fall off the path and drop your daily practice — because it will get difficult, you feel have days when you feel lazy, you will wonder if it’s really worth the effort.
So to make your habit stick, start tracking your habit. This is easy to do. Simply put a big CHECK every time you generate your 10 daily ideas and before long you’ll create a chain.
Soon, that chain will be so long it will be more painful to break the chain than it is to do the work.
Keep going longer, and daily idea generation will become as much a ‘thing’ as cleaning your teeth or making your bed. When a habit becomes part of who you are, you act on autopilot.
This is a powerful transition to move though and it’s something your Habit Roadmap can help you navigate.
Mark-up idea generation as one of the habits you wish to track and use your Habit Roadmap to monitor your daily idea practice. It’s a commitment that could make the difference between a temporary habit and a lifelong behavior.
3. Step into fresh ideas
Steve Jobs said that “Creativity is just connecting things”.
In other words, your ability to generate ideas is also related to the amount of ‘things’ you have to connect up.
It’s often said that nothing new is ever created. Instead, creators simply blend together different ‘things’ to create something new. So if you want to have more ideas, put yourself in an environment where you are discovering more ‘things’ you could connect.
- Read books that are outside your comfort zone
- Watch TED talks
- Explore different cultures
- Learn new words
- Pick up different facts
- Listen to podcasts
- Ask questions
- Get into nature and think with your body – not just your mind
- Read biographies
- Take things apart
- Look at things under a magnifying glass
There are endless things you can do you enrich the experiences you hold in your body and your mind.
As well as enriching your life with newness, you’ll be able to draw upon all these different understandings when you come to generate ideas. So allow yourself to think laterally, infuse newness into your life, and use it all to inspire your idea habits.
Ideas are currency.
And you have the ability to generate an endless stream of them.
So what are you waiting for? I encourage you to start your practice today so you can start benefiting from your own ideas:
- Invest in an Edison Deck
- Get yourself a Habit Roadmap to track your habit
- Allocate a notebook to capture your daily ideas
- Commit time in your day – everyday – for this practice
- Enjoy the process of daily creation
And see the profound impact that more ideas has on every area of your life.