Creativity is part of life. Each day we employ creativity in our daily routines: Caring for our families, interacting at work or in our business. In our playtime and our intimate relationships. Even in our mundane tasks we are creative.
If you work in a creative profession, ideas are important. You could be a writer, graphic designer or photographer. Or, an entrepreneur creating services or information products. Maybe you’re a coach or a counselor or a teacher. All of these things depend on your creativity and good ideas.
I’m a writer, among other things. I write non-fiction as well as fiction and ideas are necessary for me to create.
I’m not bragging here when I tell you that I am a fountain of ideas. I have more ideas than I know what to do with. I have an Evernote chock-full of fiction ideas that I will likely never have time for. I have ideas for non-fiction books as well and I’m working on one right now. I have ideas for blog posts (thank goodness for Trello!) and online courses. Workbooks and planners.
I love my ideas like they are my children. And every single one is my favorite.
Because I just love my ideas so much, I’m assured that I will never run short on them. The rare occasions when I am fresh out of ideas is usually a brief blip in the system that indicates I’m burned out or there is something going on in my life that requires my full attention to deal with. The well is never dry for long.
Why Am I Telling You This?
Because I know that lots of people think ideas are something rare and precious. I’ve had people tell me they could never be a writer because they don’t have any ideas. What? Any? Or they can’t think of a business, or they just aren’t creative. I call bullshit.
I firmly believe that people have million-dollar ideas before breakfast all the time. Not once or twice in a lifetime, but ALL THE DAMN TIME.
I truly do believe this. I think the only reason why we don’t see this is because we’ve usually either forgotten the idea by the time we’re in the car driving to work or because we’ve dismissed the idea the second it’s come into our heads.
But, I Don’t Seem To Have Ideas
Hogwash. You have tons of ideas. If you truly don’t think you have any ideas flowing in, it could be due to one of the following:
You abuse your ideas.
Yeah, I said it like that. What do I mean? Well, you either ridicule or outright shoot down the ideas your brain so eagerly presents to you.
Think of it this way: You have a great idea. It’s awesome! Best fucking idea you’ve ever had. You can’t wait to share it with your best friend. We’ll call her Sally. You meet Sally for coffee and start spilling the brilliance the minute you sit down. You finish, sit back and wait for her enthusiastic response.
Not just crickets. Awkward, unenthusiastic crickets. Then, the bad news: Your idea sucks. Okay, maybe Sally doesn’t outright say it sucks, but she doesn’t hesitate to tell you all about how it won’t work. What will go wrong. It’s not a new idea; other people are doing it already, and probably better than you. You don’t have the money, experience or connections to make it work.
Better luck next time.
The worst part is, Sally keeps doing this to you. This isn’t the first time she’s shot down your awesome thoughts.
So let me ask you this: If you had a friend like Sally (I hope you don’t) at what point would you just stop telling her your ideas?
Well, if you shoot down your own ideas before they can even be explored, if you assume your ideas won’t work or are stupid or have already been thought up so don’t bother. Guess what? Your brain is just going to start keeping those ideas under wraps. You aren’t encouraging your idea generator to spit out the goods. You’re stifling it.
Next, we have idea neglect. This is just as bad. Maybe you aren’t as bad as Sally, but you just don’t give ideas any attention. You don’t write them down or tell like-minded, supportive people about them. You don’t nurture them so they can grow. Your ideas get no sun, no water. You just leave them in a dark corner to wither and die. No wonder you don’t think you have any good ideas!
Another common problem is idea hoarding. This is what happens when you have an idea you’re excited about, but you’re so afraid you won’t have another one like it you just shove it to the back and wait for the “perfect” time to implement it. You think, “I have this great idea for a course, book, screenplay, painting etc. but I’m not good enough, experienced enough, don’t have the right shit, etc. So I’ll just wait, because I don’t want to screw up this one amazing idea I have.
(Don’t Do This!)
Here’s the thing: Ideas aren’t precious. They are a dime a dozen. If you don’t think you have any good ideas, it’s because you are putting way too much pressure on yourself instead of nurturing your idea generator. You know, that thing between your ears. (With a little help from the Universe, of course!)
So here’s what you can do:
Start writing down every single idea you have. Doesn’t matter how stupid, far-fetched, impractical or straight-up crazy it is. I like James Altucher’s method of becoming an “Idea machine” and coming up with fresh ideas every single day. The idea center of your brain is like a muscle, you have to work it.
And you have to give all your ideas equal encouragement. Don’t be discriminatory.
I consider all my ideas valid. They are ALL invited to the party, even the ones who can’t dress themselves properly or act right in public. Everyone gets to show up and suit up. Doesn’t mean that every idea gets executed, but I at least give them a chance to pitch and win me over.
This is why I am never worried about the well running dry.
So, if you are feeling blocked or low on quality ideas, do yourself a favor and start nurturing your brain. Feed it lots of art and music and books and new ideas, but leave it plenty of space to do its own thing. Write down ALL THE IDEAS you can cook up — no matter how stupid you think they are. Tell your ideas you are happy to see them and how amazing they are. Build them up. Guard them — don’t go talking about them to that bitch Sally, or anyone else who will shoot them down. Don’t BE Sally, either.
I bet in less than a month you’ll have a ton of ideas hopping around in there. Let them out to play!
Leave me a comment and tell me what you’re working on. I love hearing your ideas!!!
Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a comment, I would love to get to know you better! And if you think someone else could benefit from this, give it a share.
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