Your brain has an amazing ability to generate ideas. But, it's not always easy to access them. Few things are more frustrating than needing an original idea, but not being able to come up with one.
Like many other things in life, generating great ideas requires practice to be able to do it consistently.
Unfortunately, most of us are only looking for good ideas when we're in a tough spot. The added pressure can make it even more challenging to come up with a good idea. We typically don’t work as well under pressure as we do when relaxed.
Practice these techniques to improve your ability to generate useful ideas:
- Set an intention. Decide each day that you’re going to be creative. Each morning, tell yourself that you’re going to generate some great ideas today. You’ll be much more likely to be successful, just as if you reminded yourself to notice all the blue cars that crossed your path today.
- Try a new environment. The same environment leads to the same thoughts and behaviors. Put yourself in a new environment if you want to have new ideas. Spend the night at a hotel. Take a trip to the city. Go to the park. Walk around a cemetery. Sit in a chair in your backyard if you rarely get out there.
- Write in a journal. Writing generates thinking. It also creates space in your brain for new thoughts. Get the old thoughts out of the way and you’ll begin thinking about something new. Make a habit of writing in a journal each day.
- Get online. Cruise around the internet. Spend some time on sites you wouldn’t normally visit. Watch some videos. Look at some photos. Read a few blogs on topics relevant to your creative need. There’s so much available online.
- Set aside time each day for idea generation. Just as you might set aside time to hit the gym, set aside a time to generate great ideas. Be clear on the topic and desired outcome. “I want to find the optimal solution regarding the delivery issues my business is suffering.”
- You’re bound to come up with some great ideas if you do this each day. When you practice generating great ideas, you become good at it.
- Skim books on the topic. It’s not necessary to read every word to find a new idea, but you could. Skim through a few books and see if something triggers a new idea. Maybe someone already has a great idea you can use.
- Ask others for ideas. Maybe someone you know has a perspective you haven’t considered. You could even send out a mass email to everyone you know and ask for help. You’re certain to hear a few ideas that you never would’ve thought of on your own.
- Understand that you’ll often get many ideas at once. Ideas often come in floods. You can have several days without a good idea, and then you suddenly have 10. That’s why it’s important to keep at it every day. Be open to receiving several good ideas at once.
Do you regularly have good ideas? Whether you do or not, you can definitely strengthen that ability. Creativity requires practice, and few of us get regular practice.
We’re only looking for solutions when we have a pressing problem. This is shortsighted. Spend time each day looking for the best possible solutions to the challenges in your life, no matter how small they might be.
Build your idea-generating muscles, so they’ll be ready when you need them.
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