Great Idea! Now What?

In a previous post I wrote how your head was a great place for having ideas, but a lousy place for keeping them.  This is because it’s so easy to lose ideas in the constant clutter of thoughts going on in our heads.  This week, I’d like share some actions we can take when we come up with a good idea, to ensure they are not forgotten.

First, create a system for capturing ideas.  With the digital revolution in full swing, there are several electronic options to quickly capture the idea written down.  These can include:

  • An audio recording
  • An email or text to yourself
  • An electronic list
  • A smartphone app designed for taking notes
  • Pictures taken with smartphone

Since most folks have a smartphone on or near them at all times, it makes sense that this would be a good tool to use to capture ideas.  However, we shouldn’t discount “old-school” mediums such:

  • Notebooks
  • Whiteboards
  • Sticky notes
  • Journals

What I have found is that I usually rely on a couple different methods for capturing ideas.  I think it’s important to settle on 2-3 preferred methods that work for you, because having too many ways of capturing ideas can lead to clutter and cause ideas that get lost.

Next, after you’ve developed a system for capturing your ideas, create a system to consolidate all your ideas.  By this, I mean taking all the ideas you had and placing them in a consistent location so they are easy to locate in the future.  Again, this collection could be a digital or an old-school method.  Just pick a one that works for you and make sure consolidating the ideas you’ve captured becomes part of your daily routine.

Finally, the most important step you can take after capturing and consolidating your ideas is to develop a plan to take action on your highest priority ideas.  If you’re like me, most of your ideas won’t be any good.  However, when you do have an idea that is good and you want to implement, do something that reminds you to put your idea into action.  For me, that often looks like setting a reminder in my smart phone to alert me at a certain date and time when I will be in a position to take action on my idea.

There are several methods that can be used to capture, consolidate, and act on your ideas.  The important point is to have specific methods at each step so you’ll be able to put your ideas into actions.  Actions that could potentially change your life.

Without a plan to do something with the ideas we have, they are often relegated to being just ghosts of ideas that disappear soon after we have them.  It’s time to start collecting and acting on the treasure of ideas our minds so often provide

What Are You Allowing In

I’ve been thinking this week about how what we fill our minds with today influences our thoughts in the future.  I’m also surprised at how quickly our mind comes up with thoughts that are influenced by what we’re allowing into our minds.

This can be a great thing if we’re filling our minds with good content that reinforces good thinking.  The other side is that a lack of discernment over what content we allow into our minds can lead to a polluted thought life that will manifest itself in equally polluted speech, attitude and behavior.

Earl Nightingale gave a great illustration of this by comparing our minds to a plot of land for a garden.  If we plant corn seeds in this pot of land, the only crop that we can expect the land to produce is corn.  It will not produce carrots, peas, beets, or potatoes.  We’ve sown seeds of corn.  The only thing the land will produce in return is corn.

Our minds are like that plot of land, and the content we’re allowing into our mind today are the seeds of our future thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.  Like the plot of land, our minds will only return a harvest based on the seeds we sow in it.  If we’re filling our mind with the seeds of positive input, our thoughts will be positive.  Likewise, seeds of negativity will yield and equally negative harvest.

So what are these “seeds” that we plant in our mind?  What do they look like and where do we get them?

These seeds come in many forms, such as:

  • Books we read
  • People we interact with
  • Games we play
  • Movies we watch
  • Music we listen to
  • Media we consume
  • Environments we spend time in
  • Communities we are a part of

Since they have such a significant impact on our thinking, it is so important to be aware of the content we allow into our mind.  We would never intentionally put sand or water into the gas tank of our car, because that would have a damaging impact on the car’s engine.  Our minds should be treated likewise, because the wrong input, which leads to wrong thinking, can have an equally damaging impact.

There are 2 things we can do today to start having better, more positive thoughts:

  1. Be aware of the input we’re allowing into our minds. Pay attention to the content we’re taking in and the conversations we’re having.  If they’re negative, change them.
  1. Be aware of the thoughts you’re having. When you notice they’re negative, replace them with a positive thought.  Left unchecked, we will go where our thoughts take us.  I’d prefer to be taken somewhere positive.

Become aware of the content you’re allowing into your mind and begin sowing the seeds of good thoughts in your mind today.  A harvest of good thinking in the future awaits.