The Power of Daily Ideas
There are different schools on how ideas come about. Author Elizabeth Gilbert believes the creative ones are floating around, waiting for someone to welcome them in and see them to fruition. I agree with this wholeheartedly after reading her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (review forthcoming on this blog!). But I also think you can work your “idea muscle” and create things independently, too.
This is the philosophy of James Altucher, the podcaster/writer/businessman/vagabond whose radical thoughts seem outside of the box on the surface, but almost always make perfect sense upon further investigation.
Altucher is a big believer of using exercise to strengthen your idea generation. As a big fan of his podcast and writing, I was immediately on board when I learned he suggests writing down ten ideas per day. I started doing it earlier this month, and the results have been fantastic.
Up front I’ll say that I don’t carve out specific time for this and don’t always make it to ten—I’ve done as few as seven on a couple of occasions. But as with most things in life, I am of the mind that showing up at all, even for a short amount of time, is far more beneficial than doing nothing. So I don’t beat myself up over falling short of ten new ideas everyday. I should probably block it off, though. Adding it to my successful morning routine would probably be the best way to go, so I think I’ll start that tomorrow.
Over the past few weeks I’ve seen my brain take a turn toward more creativity, thanks to this practice. My ideas vary from completely absurd (a VR patch that lets you see and hear Hillary Clinton every time Donald Trump is on TV) to very useful (firefighting drones). But I don’t even think it’s these things I’m writing down that are the important part here. It’s the idea-generating ability I’ve gained outside of the practice that fascinates me: I’m much more capable of coming up with actionable solutions now as I make my way through the day.
Two ideas I came up with rather quickly in the past two weeks have been big. I can’t say what they are because details still being worked out with everyone involved. But they’re real, concrete ideas that matter and could possibly lead to really great things. I don’t know that I could’ve discovered them inside my brain a month ago, and seeing that is pretty cool.
I urge you to take a month to write down ten ideas per day, too. Who knows what they might lead to? You could come up with the next big product, a cure for something, or maybe the most ridiculous YouTube channel ever. Whatever it ends up being, I’m certain you’ll find great benefit in this practice. If you decide to take this one-month challenge, let me know how you make out! I’d love to hear some great ideas that develop from it.