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Nine Methods to Come up with Life-Changing Ideas, Effortlessly

by | Nov 7, 2022 | Writing

People think I’m an idea-generating machine.

It’s true that I never run out of ideas, but not because I’m smart. What makes idea generation effortless for me is one belief:

Everything is connected to everything.

I don’t let labels, niches, critics, or boundaries place a limiting valve on my imagination. I can take a random thought, like my in-laws getting into a car accident the other day, and mix it with a concept like idea generation.

This example looks like this:

Watching people you love get into a car accident pushes the brakes on your ability to generate ideas. Fight or flight mode kicks in. You can’t always be in the right frame of mind to generate ideas.

See what I did there out of nowhere? Everything is related to everything, so unleash your imagination and ideas will pour out.

Here are 9 more methods I’ve learned to come up with ideas, effortlessly.

Stay the hell away from group brainstorming sessions

People who work in corporate love group brainstorming.

They pull out the butchers paper and murder every good idea a human could ever come up with.

Why?

They don’t understand that you can’t just sit down and magically decide now is a good time to come up with ideas.

Worse, you can’t magically coordinate a group rain dance where a big bunch of other people also can generate ideas at a scheduled time.

Great ideas enter your mind at random times. Don’t force it. Ever.

Practice being a dumbass amateur

Labels drive behavior.

A common roadblock with idea generation occurs when you unconsciously start to think “am I an expert in this?” before you start to let the idea muscles in your brain do their job.

Experts often don’t want to accept new ideas or, god forbid, come up with new ones.

They’re happy with the status quo that got them to this high position in society. By thinking they’re smarter than the average person, they artificially limit the frame of mind needed for new ideas to be born.

Think you’re an amateur to let ideas flow. That way you’ll stop judging every idea before it’s fully formed in your brain.

Design an idea-generation environment

Blogger Nat Eliason says you can’t control ideas or create them out of thin air. You can’t control the quality of them either.

All one can do is create the right environment for ideas to be born, for them to thrive, and later, to multiply and have idea babies.

Your daily inputs — podcasts, tweets, newsletters, emails, books, tv — feed your subconscious. That creates a queue. If all you do is consume more content then your mind has no time to process it all.

Because coming up with good ideas requires both inputs into the brain, and time for them to marinate, without boredom, great ideas can’t escape from your mind.

The right environment for great ideas is one part content consumption, and one part intentional boredom.

Sometimes it feels like ideas come from outside the mind — Lex Fridman

Great ideas are remixes

A huge limiter on idea generation is trying to be unique.

The truth is unless you’re Einstein your ideas will be same-same. What I’ve found is my best ideas aren’t new. No.

They’re remixes and blends of other people’s ideas that come together to form a creation that looks new. A remix.

The simple idea-generation method that’ll generate countless good ideas for a lifetime

Mindvalley CEO Vishen Lakhiani says “When you’re in a relaxed state creative ideas flow.”

The two times when you’re the most relaxed are while having a warm shower, and when taking a walk outside without your phone.

I swear to you — these are when I generate most of my ideas.

Image credit-AshLamb via this tweet (follow him)

Read old books to find new ideas

It’s like being stuck in a prison cell when all you do is follow your curiosity on social media.

There’s a recency bias.

Most online conversations are about things that happened in the last day or two. And everyone is talking the same smack to get the reward of empty ‘likes.’ It sometimes feels like we’re soulless ghosts stuck in a meat suit.

What’s helped me is reading old books. Studying history, especially, seems to uncover all sorts of ideas I hear no one talk about.

After years pass we forget ancient ideas. Old books are a chance to dig them up again like buried pirate treasure.

Become an uber sexy writer

One of the best ways to get the idea muscle moving is by writing.

It’s why I believe everyone should write on the internet. I built an entire academy around this philosophy because I’m so obsessed with it.

When you have an idea and try to write about it, it quickly becomes apparent if it’s a good idea. Why?

Bad ideas are hard to write about.

Your brain hits a brick wall when you try to articulate a crap idea. But what’s cool is in the process of writing a bad idea, often, a good idea comes.

No one knows how it happens. No one knows why. And the process is unpredictable. But if you embrace the serendipity of writing, you’ll discover this hidden method more often than not.

Ideas are only as good as the sum of its parts

This concept is going to sound bizarre. Stick with me.

Writing is thinking. Thinking is needed to generate ideas. Often we think of writing as the extraction process used to get ideas from your consciousness onto a blank page.

It’s so much more.

Ideas are made up of several fragmented thoughts. The only way to connect the dots of fragmented thoughts is through writing, which turns them into fully fleshed out ideas humans can understand.

Without writing all you have is a brain full of hollow thoughts that have zero value and create what I call scatterbrain syndrome. The cure? Writing.

Writing is essential for idea generation.

Writing organizes fragmented thoughts into ideas.

Get a hit of dope like a junkie

Ideas aren’t all the same.

The life-changing ones have a hidden ingredient: dopamine. As you do research and scour the internet looking for inspiration, good ideas will spark excitement.

The excitement turns into dopamine that feels good. So notice which ideas feel good.

Ohhhh and….

If you get tingles down your spine or goosebumps, then immediately take note of that idea and act on it if you can. They’re the breathtaking ones.

Closing Thought

A random person online sent me a great idea a month ago.

At the end of his email he asked for 20% of all revenue the idea might create. The thing is I’d already implemented the idea years before.

Even if I hadn’t, there’s no way I’d give a percentage of every future dollar I ever earn to someone who gave me an idea that took two minutes to come up with.

Remember: Ideas are worth nothing without execution.

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