I Don’t Have Any Ideas…

Posted: September 9, 2016 in books
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YOURENOTCOVEROkay this is almost as bad as the original lie, that you’re not creative. Of course you have ideas, even the idea that you don’t have any ideas is, you guessed it, an idea. Ideas are everywhere. A lot of them are bad ideas, but they’re ideas nonetheless. Now when I talk about bad ideas (because I’m about to encourage you to have them), I want to be clear what I am not talking about. Criminal activity is a bad idea but it’s not what I’m talking about. Picking a fight with a ninja is a bad idea, I’m not talking about that either. I’m not talking about anything that will get you hurt, killed, incarcerated or that will destroy your key relationships or reputation.

I’m talking about ideas that will make people shake their heads. Those are all around you and they’re a great place to start. Why? Because not all bad ideas are really bad ideas. Some of them are actually the seed of a really great idea. Often, when we say we don’t have any ideas, what we really mean is we have ideas, but the inner critic or one of the billions of external critics has dismissed them as bad. We actually often talk ourselves our of things that could really be great for us and we have to stop doing that.

The way to overcome “having no ideas” is to brainstorm. Brainstorming is the act of coming up with as many ideas as you can as quickly as you can. I know what, you’re thinking (or at least I have an idea, see what I did there?). You’re thinking”…but my problem is I don’t have any ideas.” I refuse to believe that. What you mean is you don’t have any good, feasible ideas, and that may be true, but in thinking that, you are overlooking the first rule of brainstorming, which is, at this phase, there are no bad ideas. When you brainstorm, you turn off the inner critic and silence the outer ones and you record EVERY idea—every last one—good bad or indifferent. You’ll refine later, but for now, write them all down. Do your best not to edit yourself or dismiss anything at all. This is al about getting as many ideas as you can.

Now, and this is important, once you have all the ideas together, look at them as open-mindedly as you can. Some of the worst ones will start to filter out, but some others that at first glance seemed improbable are probably starting to trigger imagined possibilities. Highlight these for further study. What will eventually happen is the winning ideas will start to surface. These are the ones you will develop further. What do you do with the rest? File them, you never know what will surface in the process of development.

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