Coming up with ideas can be tough, sometimes impossible, or so it seems. I’ve never had a problem with generating ideas, but I’ve discovered that they often do not manifest themselves in the way I expect them to.
Whenever I feel like I’m stuck, I move onto something else, because if I try to force things, it never goes well.
I learned this the hard way during the days when I was a professional poker player. As a poker player you have to be focused at all times, you have to tune into the flow of the game and, most of the time, you cannot force things.
I learned that when I let things unfold naturally, everything went smoother and the end results were better.
In the end, you have to find your own way of doing things. I’ve never had a real job, so I’ve been using my brain ever since I got out of school.
I’ve had a lot of time to get familiar with how my body, mind and soul conjure up ideas.
Where Do Ideas Come From Anyway?
Ideas come from a place we don’t see, but we know is there, we feel it. Ideas aren’t something that belong to us, they float around until someone grabs them. But this grabbing is not a conscious act.
Ideas come when we calm down, relax, and get out of our own way. When you stop thinking, your innate wisdom emerges, and ideas happen.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use tools to nudge the process along.
One warning though: If you start to feel frustrated, stop. Brainstorm when you feel good. Trust your feelings. Your feelings are always telling you if you can trust your thinking or not.
A Note on Brainstorming
I recently re-discovered brainstorming thanks to a friend, Jordan Cooper. He’s a stand-up comedian and apparently those guys use a lot of brainstorming to come up with their material.
At the moment my favorite way of brainstorming is to take a topic and start writing keywords about anything that comes to mind.
The best way to do this is to use a voice recorder, because the last thing you want to do is censor yourself, which happens a lot if you’re writing.
Let everything come out. Don’t worry if you’re straying off-topic. I’ve found a lot of good ideas that started on-topic but quickly got out of hand.
My 7 Secrets to Generating Unlimited Ideas
Yesterday I watched a movie. It was a thriller, mystery, basically one of those cop movies. When the main character found himself in a quandary and needed to think, you know what he did? He said “I need to think, I’m going for a ride.”
We all have at least one thing we can do to allow ideas and solutions to appear. For the detective it was taking a drive. The common denominator is always a clear mind. Because that allows the innate wisdom within us to come through.
The more you use your brain and solve problems, the better you get at these things. Here are a few of the ways I generate ideas:
1. Washing the Dishes. It’s amazing how many ideas I’ve gotten while washing the dishes. I’ve never been a fan of using a dishwasher. Why do I need one when I can wash everything by hand so much more quickly? Anyway . . . using the dishes helps me focus my mind on one thing. In that sense, it is kind of like meditation. Whenever I need an idea or a problem solved and if there’s dishes around, I go do them. Often it doesn’t help to think more, but to think less.
2. Befriend Your Bed. It’s not what you think. What I mean by befriending your bed is taking a break and lying there, relaxing. If you’ve been trying to come up with a great idea or solution all day, give yourself some time to cool off and take a nap or just lie there. Try not to think. Although sometimes people make the not thinking into another job. Just be. That’s my best advice.
3. Allowing. Sometimes ideas come when the time is right. I view ideas and inspiration as something that comes naturally, so when I’m not receiving a solution to a problem, it’s me blocking it. When nothing else works, I meditate and release any resistance I might have in my body. I also like to use tools, such as EFT and the Sedona Method, which I talk a lot about on this blog.
4. Observing. I like to take walks with Ingela and our dog, Cleo. It helps me clear my mind. If you decide to go for a walk, stay as present as possible and remember to bring something to record your ideas on. I’ve noticed that once the flood gates open, I want to be ready to capture whatever is coming through. Don’t wait, jot everything down right away.
5. Being Present. I almost hate saying be present, be in the now and focus on what is, because they have been so overused in the last few years. But they have been repeated so many times for a good reason: they work. When you stop worrying and get your ass back to the present moment, you’ll improve your idea generation greatly.
6. Brainstorming. Like I said above, I’ve fallen back in love with brainstorming. Sometimes I use mind mapping software, sometimes I use notepad and sometimes I use good old pen and paper. The only reason I don’t use an audio recorder is because I like to see my ideas, so if I record everything, I’d have to transcribe it all and that takes time.
7. Exercising. Have you ever noticed how clear your mind is after you’ve exercised? I have too, it’s pretty cool. This again goes back to the theme of doing something completely unrelated to what you were doing and letting your unconscious come up with a great idea or solution to a problem you’re having. Our conscious mind is nothing compared to our unconscious.
An Example From My Life
I was listening to an interview, while sipping my freshly-squeezed orange juice and that’s when it hit me. I just received inspiration for this post.
When inspiration hits me, it’s almost like there’s a rope attached to my heart pulling me to my computer to write.
After I’ve written a post that really came from my heart, I feel phenomenally awesome.
Generating ideas out of thin air is something that you get better at. But remember, it’s about peeling off the layers that are preventing the ideas from coming to you in the first place.
It’s about realizing that ideas come when you stop trying.
Image by Rachel K