There seems to be a common myth that one day you’ll just sit under a tree and get a good idea (possibly whilst getting hit in the noggin by an apple).
A more common – but less sexy or made for great anecdotes kind of – way to get a good idea is a bit different.
LetÂ´s take the idea-machine and inventor Thomas Edison for example. By his death in 1931 Edison had gathered over a 1000 patents. Sure, today we may not remember many of them but among were also a handful of world-changing ideas such as the light bulb, the phonograph (for listening to music) and the Kinetoscope (for watching movies).
Point being: To get a good idea, get lots of ideas.
For instance, when I’m running low on subjects to blog about I sit down and take out a piece of paper. I pick up my pen, brainstorm and try to come up with 20 new ideas for articles. Then I try for 10 more. This might take a while, especially at the end when obvious ideas and variations of them starts to dry up. But when I finally have them, then I’ll have enough.
Some of these ideas will suck, many ideas will overlap and can be integrated into one article. A few of the ideas may even be quite good.
An excellent variation of this method comes from Earl Nightingale’s “Lead the Field”:
Use the pen and a piece of paper try to come up with 20 ideas to improve something. This something can be you business, health, the amount of money you earn, your life in general or just another idea that you want to improve. Several times after IÂ´ve done this exercise IÂ´ve been quite pleasantly surprised with some of the suggestions IÂ´ve written down and thought to myself: Why havenÂ´t I thought of that earlier?
The interesting thing about sitting down and starting to consciously generating ideas is that once you get them to start trickling into your mind they often develop into a small stream or sometimes even a river. Before you begin it may seem difficult to gather 20 or 40 new ideas but soon after you get started it seems, at least for a while, like you’re plucking them out of the air as easy as picking a basket of apples.
Edison, who used to retreat to his basement and there – without the disturbance of sight or sound – simply received ideas, had this to say:
“Ideas come from space. This may seem astonishing and impossible to believe, but it’s true. Ideas come from out of space.”
A thought that that seems to fit into the theory, supported many personal growth writers like Napoleon Hill and Brian Tracy, about an infinite intelligence that you can tap into to get ideas and solutions to your problems.
To get the flow of ideas going I have found it important to relax the mind. If you strain and try to force the ideas out they won’t come. Just relax and let them flow. Half of them might be unusable but don’t think or worry about that because then you’ll put a stop to the stream of ideas. Just write it all down and later you can proceed to delete, keep or merge your ideas.
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