Opinions expressed by Minority Mindset contributors are their own.
Ideas aren’t free.
They cost time, energy, and thought. Those are just bad ones too. The good ideas often show up disguised as bad ones, carry a gym bag full of doubt, and make the average person squirm in their underwear. Good ideas are harder to find than bigfoot.
The worst is when you don’t have good or bad ideas. I’ve had days where it felt like tumbleweeds were blowing through the streets of my mind. It was emptier than a jar of air.
Luckily, I’ve found a few ways to generate ideas even on bad days. Here are my 4 favorite ways to come up with new ideas.
1. Taking A Walk
I love taking long, scenic walks.
The best walks are the ones where I leave my phone and music in the house. I just slip into some flip flops and get out there. You don’t need anything but an open mind.
I live near a park which makes everything more pleasant. I know some folks are probably like “Umm, I live in a concrete jungle and there’s nothing scenic about it!”
Disagree! There’s something beautiful everywhere you look–work hard to find it.
When I get stuck on a problem, need to come up with new content, or I’m stressed out I go for a walk. My intention is never to solve the problem, but to allow my mind to be free and “play outside.” I may take a few steps while thinking about a current issue, but then I cut the leash and let my brain gallivant and roll with its thoughts.
I’ve come up with so many article ideas simply by taking an easy stroll around the neighborhood. I challenge you to go outside in all sorts of weather, not just during the warm spring and summer months. If it’s cold, rainy, or windy it’s especially important to push yourself.
Face a challenge, wrangle an idea, and walk through the door victorious.
2. Working Out
Do you even lift?
I hate the days when I don’t work out because I feel my cognitive abilities become impaired. The increased blood flow from a good workout really gets my juices going. It also brings a wave of quiet into my mind.
Whenever I get overwhelmed I immediately look forward to my next gym session. All of my problems get solved between reps. It’s a magical thing. My body is focused on pushing, growing, and transforming.
Afterward, my mind feels like it just took a shower. It’s all clean, lean, and begging for problems to solve. Suddenly, I’ve got 7 new ideas, 15 different creative solutions to a problem, and a big slap-happy smile.
I would highly suggest texting yourself some of the ideas as they come to you during your workout. I’ve lost a few that are probably wedged between free-weights and treadmills.
3. Reading Books, Watching Movies, and Listening to Podcasts
There’s a reason I didn’t say “information.” Opening yourself up to fiction is equally as helpful as nonfiction. Books, movies, and podcasts allow you to hear new perspectives.
Often we encounter obstacles or confusing situations because we’re so rooted in our own way of thinking. If you ask me, that’s trash. Sure, we all have our own opinions and they’re special, blah blah blah. However, being open to new ways of thinking will put you at such an advantage. Reading, watching movies, and listening to other content creators is the best way of obtaining a new perspective.
You’ll learn to identify a troublesome situation 100 miles ahead of everyone AND have dozens of ideas of how to approach it. These are great ways to improve your emotional intelligence too. Higher emotional intelligence means more adept skills at working with people, which means a better business.
4. Go Somewhere You’ve Never Been
GET OUTTA HERE!
You’ve been making googly eyes at your screen all day. Go somewhere! Not just anywhere, someplace completely new with people you don’t know. I’m not saying you HAVE to interact with people but get out of your bubble.
New ideas come from new experiences. So, it stands to reason that going to a new place, filled with new people, new smells, and new sights will cultivate new thoughts.
Don’t overthink it either. I’m not saying you have to book a flight to Okinawa. I’m encouraging you to go to the Farmer’s Market down the street or the gallery opening.
Immerse your senses in something unfamiliar, maybe even uncomfortable.
Notice that this wasn’t a list of ways to come up with good ideas. I don’t have the Holy Grail process of creating magically successful business ideas that I’m keeping from you. Good ideas stem from bad ideas. In truth, ideas are just ideas. We decide if they’re good or not. More appropriately, the market, customers, friends, and society decide if they’re good.
The point is to never get stuck without an idea. Once you master the ability to inspire yourself (idea generation), everything else comes more easily. All the problems will become puzzles, all the creative blocks become challenges, and everything becomes possible.