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How to Get Many Ideas

Most of our thoughts are very repetitive and if you think about an idea or problem in the same way you probably will get the same results and ideas as you always have gotten. All people have the ability to have creative ideas based on their memories and old thoughts. But without any effort or without any conscious will, nothing creative will break through.

Breaking The Pattern

Creative thoughts must be produced through the use of different patterns of thinking. Our patterns of thinking are learned, therefore our reactions, that stimulate these patterns, are basically automatic. This automatism makes it immensely difficult for us to spontaneously have creative solutions to problems. This process really shows itself when we get presented new information and unusual knowledge that we might not be familiar with. What we need to do is to break out of our old patterns of thinking, at least when the old patterns don't work.

I Want More

Do I have to remind you of Edison's 1000+ attempts towards his lightbulb? When asked about his persistence despite all the failure, he answered that he didn't understand the question, he thought that he had found over thousands of ways that didn't work. This guy, Edison, also held 1093 patents.

You have to ask yourself, have you even tried to come up with these many ideas?
If he had 1093 patents how many ideas did he generate?
10 000, 100 000, or even more?!


If you Want More

Here are some principles to guide you towards an intense idea generation experience:

  • Defer judgement while generating ideas. Judgement kills creativity! (You have plenty of time for judging after this session, just don't do it when you are generating ideas.)
  • Generate as many ideas as possible, don't stop because you've stumbled upon the good idea keep continuing the process: behind a good idea there might be a great idea and behind a great idea there might be an exceptional idea.
  • Record ideas as they occur, use a pen and paper and write them down, writing ideas speeds up the thought process.
  • Before starting, decide that you are going to reach a certain number of ideas, like for example 30 ideas. Choose as many you need to force you away from the barriers of judgement, if you have many, a number like 60 ideas in 10 minutes then the judging mind can't keep up, you must hurry!
  • Use time to your advantage, set 10 minutes, then rapid-fire-aim.
  • When you're done, do another one but this time elaborate or improve upon the ideas.

Why Do I Need So Many Ideas?

Because our initial ideas usually lack quality they seem to be very conformist, they are often in the already existing patterns of thinking, that we believe are the right way. They are presumptions, assumptions and the continuity of the problems we face, they don't tend to be that Revolutionary, quite the opposite they tend to be safe responses that we habitually use to stay out of trouble. These are also probably the ideas that the judging part of us seem to like. These ideas don't seem that original, they look like what most people would think of. So you need to push yourself to amounts of ideas which most people won't do.

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