How to be an Idea Machine

I’m trying to get better at coming up with ideas.  When trying to envision something that doesn’t exist, or isn’t your current reality, it’s extremely easy to say, “I don’t know” and give up before we even begin to think.  But that response doesn’t cause change or improve your situation.  It merely keeps you where you are, which is fine, unless you’re looking to make a change.

There are 3 truths about generating ideas that I find helpful as I attempt to improve my ability to come up with ideas.  They are:

  1. Most of your ideas won’t be any good. I find this liberating because it frees me up from thinking that all my ideas need to be stellar.  Instead, I can just focus on coming up with a large quantity of ideas for problem.  From that quantity, there he is bound to be something that creates the spark of a good idea.
  1. You don’t need to come up with original ideas. Instead, build on existing ideas.  Take prepackaged salad you get at the grocery store.  There’s nothing new there: chopped up lettuce.  The idea was to do the chopping for the customer so as to be more convenient.  Sounds like a good idea to me!  And from the number of stores that carry bags of chopped up lettuce, I’d say a lot of other people thought it was a good idea too!
  1. You can get better at coming up with ideas. The three best ways I can think of to do this are:
    • Every day, come up with 10 ideas for a problem you’re facing.
    • Read books or listen to podcasts in your area of interest on a daily basis.
    • Be curious about life. Observe similarities between different events, scenarios, or problems.

Life is more fun when you’re engaged and using your mind to chart the course for the life you want to live.  Begin developing your ability to generate actionable ideas and take charge of the direction you want your life to go.  That’s what successful people do.  People like you.


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