How to Create an Idea Mindset in 6 Steps
Many people need help with coming up with ideas to create new or better business ideas, ideas for getting unstuck, [insert your reasons for creating ideas] ideas. Here are my four steps for generating ideas.
Step 1: EXPOSE YOURSELF TO IDEAS Constantly expose yourself to other people’s ideas. Read non-fiction books, watch YouTube, scroll through social media, talk to new people. The thing you are looking for are new ideas that that expand your mind and changes, even slightly, how you view the world. For example, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg not only creates insights on improving personal habits but also goes into how organizations and even societies have habits.
Step 2: COMBINE IDEAS Additionally, you want to expose yourself to a multitude of ideas from different sources so that you can take ideas from different places and combine them. This allows you to think of something new by allowing your ideas to crossponate. In A Mind for Numbers, Barbara Oakley explained that after the mind is focused on a problem intently using only a portion of the brain, when a person then diffuses their attention like showering and walking, the mind can then have access to the whole brain. New ideas spring forth with more areas to ping and to have more areas to ping, it’s important to read, watch, hear daily a multitude of different people’s ideas.
Step 3: FIND PROBLEMS Look for problems and try to think of how to resolve them. Problems aren't fun to have in one's life. However, they are wonderful opportunities to get your brain to think creatively. These problems don’t even have to be your problems.
Step 4: THINK ON IT Simply looking at a problem might not zap you with a creative idea on the spot. That's okay. Even geniuses and great thinkers don't walk around life with the perfect solution for every problem that they face. Allow yourself some grace to think of your new ideas to your problem at hand.
Step 5: CREATE HABITS Get into the habit of creating ideas. Not all your ideas will be good ones (sadly). If you have only one idea, then can put yourself in danger of being extremely defensive and depended on that one idea. That's not good. That's why it's important to constantly think of new ideas. James Altucher in his book “Choose Yourself” recommends creating daily lists of ideas like 10 ideas for a YouTube channel or 10 ideas for a book to get in the habit of creating ideas. The more ideas you come up with, the more you realize that you have different ideas to fall back on if your first idea wasn't as spectacular as you first imagined.
Step 6: CAPTURE Capture your ideas. Finding a system that works for you to write down/capture your ideas and have trust that you can re-access those ideas will free up your head to have more new ideas. As David Allen explained in “Getting Things Done”, your head is like RAM where only a few thoughts can be held at a time in your head before you get overwhelmed or you start forgetting things to make room for new thoughts. That’s why it’s important to create a system to capture your ideas to have the confidence to create more ideas.
IMAGINE THIS... How this process could look like. As you get ready for work, you listen to a TED Talk. While driving to work, you listen to Tim Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Work Week. At work, you encounter your frustration of yet another long, drawn out meeting. During lunch, you scroll through your favorite social media. The second half of work and you are back in your car listening to the audio book again. At home, you cook dinner chatting with your loved ones about their day. As you take your evening shower thinking back over your day, the idea comes to you to get on the offensive of those stupid meetings where you can’t even pretend to do your work. You are inspired by how Japanese people create buy-in for an idea of talking about the issue in emails beforehand so that when a meeting is called for it’s a few minutes instead of an hour and a half. Once dry, you write your idea down on a Post-It note and place it in your lunch box ready to try it out tomorrow.