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5 Crazy-Simple Hacks to Never Run Out of Good Ideas Again

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5 Crazy-Simple Hacks to Never Run Out of Good Ideas Again

Have you ever felt stuck when coming up with an idea? Maybe you need a business idea, or an article idea, or an idea to help you solve a problem. And you feel like your idea well has run dry.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone, and it feels like dangerous territory. Ideas are the lifeblood of entrepreneurship. They enable you to solve problems, engage your audience, and come up with new products.

Any threat to your ability to think up new ideas can seem as if it’s threatening your business. But don’t worry., there are a few things you can do to make sure you never run out of ideas again.

Try these 5  tips to become a true idea machine:

 

1. Flex your idea muscle

Your ability to come up with ideas can be strengthened. Like a bicep or quad muscle, the more you work your idea generation muscle, the stronger it becomes. In the book Choose Yourself,  James Altucher suggests writing 10 ideas every day. They don’t have to be good ideas or live up to any standard.

They just have to be ideas. Whether you’re writing ideas to solve small problems you have around the house, business ideas or project ideas, write down 10 ideas every single day. Over the course of a year, you’ll have written 3,650 ideas and have strengthened that idea muscle.

“Ideas come from everything” – Alfred Hitchcock

2. Ask questions

It’s an interesting truth that many of us have never considered. The strength and quantity of our ideas are limited to the strength of our sphere of experience and knowledge. For instance, it’s difficult to come up with an idea to solve a problem you don’t know exists, a creative solution you never knew was a possibility, or an angle you’ve never even imagined.

So how do you expand your sphere of experience and knowledge? By borrowing some of other people’s. If you ask meaningful questions of others, you’ll be able to expand your knowledge of other people’s problems, solutions, and stories.

Next time you meet a stranger, instead of asking “what do you do?” or “how are you?” ask “what is the best thing that happened to you today?” or “what’s one solution you wish you had right now?”. These may seem odd questions, but they’ll help you break the idea seal.

 

3. Get out of your comfort zone

Ideas are a creative process. Think about it, when you’re generating ideas you’re just coming up with creative solutions to problems. So it makes sense that to come up with more creative ideas, you need to expand your creative capacities, and one of the best ways to do this is to get out of your comfort zone.

Getting out of your comfort zone by traveling, putting yourself out there, and doing things outside of your norm will help you become more creative and therefore generate more ideas. So do something you wouldn’t normally do. You may be surprised with the ideas you’re able to come up with.

 

4. Stop being a “tryhard”

Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come to you when you’re doing something mundane? You’re showering, driving or going for a walk, and all of a sudden…Eureka! Your brain has been graced by the presence of the idea fairy.

Yet during those times when you’re actually trying to come up with an idea, it’s really difficult. Maybe you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with a product name or article topic. And you find yourself sitting there in dumb silence, with the cursor blinking or a blank page in front of you. Your brain is blank. That’s because you’re trying too hard.

Like relationships, ideas don’t come to tryhards – they come to people who aren’t actively seeking them. So instead of trying too hard to come up with ideas, let your mind wander. Engage in mundane, routine activities to give your brain the space it needs to come up with the next big idea.

“No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

5. Immerse yourself

Ideas don’t stand alone. They come from somewhere. The last idea you came up with was likely influenced by some piece of knowledge you had absorbed or something somebody said. Without the information we take in, we would have no base from which to generate ideas.

That’s where immersion comes in. If you want to generate a ton of ideas, you need to immerse yourself in information. Read autobiographies. Immerse yourself in articles and books and podcasts. Tune into the radio and watch documentaries and movies. Have conversations.

Ideas are often sparked by unexpected connections between the problem you’re trying to solve and something seemingly unrelated. By immersing yourself in idea-fueling information, you’ll be able to make more of those connections and become far more effective in coming up with creative ideas and solutions.

So go out and start generating ideas. Right now, it might seem like you’ll never have a good idea again.

But as you start to flex that idea muscle, ask questions, get out of your comfort zone, and immerse yourself (without trying too hard), you’ll notice the ideas begin to flow naturally again.And if you continue to engage in these activities, those ideas will keep coming.

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Sarah

    May 20, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Writing ten ideas a day is a great idea. Sometimes things that seem zany one minute seem totally doable the next!

  2. Guilherme

    Aug 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    great post and I think many people need to take it to heart.
    I am by nature very curious and connect things well (but suck at a hell lot of other things).

    One key to creativity I find is wandering, I noticed that as I increased my podcast consumption, I much more alert on the go and my brain shuts down.

    Funny enough, another great way to stretch my idea muscle I found is commenting on blogs 🙂 Take an idea, think about it and connect your own ideas to it and you’ll end-up moving into interesting pathways.

  3. Wanda

    Aug 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Thank-you Sarah,

    5 great tips to help us become idea machines! I particularly liked #5. It really does help when you surround yourself with relevant information. That’s when the ideas start to flow in!

  4. Dotchamou Zakari

    Aug 8, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you for these valuable ideas you are sharing with us. We are all artist but our modern life do anything possible to kill our genius and talent. If we want to live our true life, we have to be an artist. I think that your post gives simple tips on how to be creative.
    I want to share these quotes with all the readers of this post

    “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

    “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

  5. Ethan Bridges

    Aug 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Hey Sarah,

    Nice post!

    I like your “tryhard” tip. That’s a nice way to balance all tension.

    I always try to maintain a level of curiosity, the more annoying level, the better 🙂 But I guard against overthinking too. Curiosity will take us a long way. They can stop us from making excuses.

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

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1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

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Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

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No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

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But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

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  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

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In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

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“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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