James Allen wrote this about thought: “Man is made and unmade by himself. In the armory of thought, he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also creates the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. Between these two extremes are all the many grades of character, and man is their maker and their master. ”
So, since man is the creator and master of thinking, how can you learn to control your own ideas in order to create a better reality and become a more efficient, productive, and successful human being?
Obviously, there are other approaches to such a task, but today I’d like to discuss one of them. Brainstorming.
Because in order to improve our thinking skills, we must first learn how to generate more thoughts. The more thoughts we have, the more opportunities we have to bring something new into the world, and the more we create new thoughts, or brainstorm, the better our minds become at coming up with new ideas.
The Key to Brainstorming
The most important thing to remember about brainstorming is that it is exclusively for the sake of creativity. It’s not about passing judgment on the thoughts that come to mind or pushing yourself to think in a certain way. When it boils down to it, it’s all about “forceful creation.” To put it another way, you’re forcing your brain to be creative on purpose.
And, since creativity should be left to its own devices rather than being intellectualized, the whole thing is a bit of a contradiction.
As a result, it’s a procedure fraught with ambiguity and hesitation. So now I’d like to go over some various brainstorming strategies. You can utilize these to solve any difficulty in your life, from coming up with new ideas to overcoming obstacles.
1. Mindmapping Software
The first tool I’d want to discuss is software, which may seem counterintuitive and even harmful. After all, how can an electronic-based program help you tap into your mind’s intrinsic creativity?
However, I stand by my opinion that mind mapping software is invaluable for this style of thinking, and it’s difficult to express until you dive in and try it.
The software I’m referring to is the same as that utilized by MindJet MindManager and Freemind.org, the latter of which, as the name implies, is free to download.
The way these programs function is that you start with an empty page that has theoretically unlimited space. Depending on the program you’re using, you click on the blank slate and draw a bubble or a box. Then you write the main topic you’re working on in the box.
Consider the following scenario: you’re developing a new website. You could type the website’s name here. When you click anywhere else on the website, it adds new nodes. One may be labeled “Marketing,” “Products,” and “Audience,” for example.
Then you can make smaller nodes out of each of these nodes. You may extend out from “Marketing” to “Follow-up Marketing,” “Social Marketing,” and so on.
And you keep branching out and becoming more specific until you’re just pounding out specific ideas for each web segment you’re building.
This is just one example of how you can use it; your mind web or mindmap can be organized in any way you like.
Of course, you can do this type of mind-mapping on paper as well. However, I feel that using software is far more efficient. When I use this classic technique to match the speed of my mind and the speed of the computer, it’s as if a whole new universe of invention opens up to me.
2. Become a List Whiz
Getting into the habit of making lists is a terrific method to train yourself to be more creative. Set aside time each day to make lists of random items or to solve pressing problems as needed. If you can’t think of anything else to write about, feel free to write about wacky, irrelevant lists; the goal is to exercise your idea-generating muscles.
“10 Novels I Would Like to Write,” “20 Businesses I Could Start Tomorrow,” “10 Blog Articles for My Site,” and chapter lists for books I want to write someday are examples of lists I frequently make.
3. Mastermind Groups
Mastermind groups are an excellent opportunity to benefit from the ideas, knowledge, and inspiration of others on your journey to happiness and success. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who have similar aims is what masterminding is all about.
If you like, you can form a formal group that sits down and participates in group talks or brainstorming exercises. It’s a place where you may bounce ideas off each other and comment on them in turn.
You can also build something more semi-formal, where you gather every now and then to discuss issues impacting your major industry or passion, then share your unique concerns and encourage others to join you.
It might also be fully unstructured. Simply make an effort to exercise and mingle with individuals who are on the same path as you – mastermind ideas and inspiration will typically emerge spontaneously as a result of your social interactions.
Masterminding can also be done in online forums, and you don’t even have to ask people to brainstorm expressly. Simply start a discussion about the problem or circumstance, and individuals will respond with their various experiences and perspectives.
4. Meditate Before You Brainstorm
Developing the habit of meditation is one of the most effective strategies to improve your emotional health and tap into your creative impulses. After all, it’s difficult to tap into your intuitive side if your head is cluttered with the stress of daily living.
Meditation does not have to be esoteric or religious to be effective. Consider it as learning to relax and concentrate your mind. To refresh one’s mind. I make it a habit to meditate every morning as part of a morning ritual that I follow after working out and cleaning around the house. Just a 10 to twenty-minute meditation in silence.
Directly after this meditation is a great time to do a brainstorming session. In fact, you can make it a habit to brainstorm every morning after your meditation on whatever is currently your biggest goal, idea, or challenge.
5. Brainstorm in Your Sleep
Giving yourself problems to deal with while you sleep can have amazing benefits. When your subconscious mind is more suited to a problem than your conscious mind, active brainstorming is nothing more than going around in circles. When you get into bed, spend a minute meditating on the problem or concept, asking your subconscious to provide you with a solution by morning.
At times, it can feel like magic.
6. Group Passing
While I recommend masterminding, I’m not a great fan of group brainstorming. Not that I don’t believe they have huge potential; I’m just a more introverted thinker who doesn’t get as much out of them as other people do.
The concept of group passing, on the other hand, is one of the most effective groups brainstorming exercises.
Basically, you start with the basic idea or the foundation of what you’re going to brainstorm, and the first person in the group grows on it without any input from the rest of the group. This person could even be in charge of coming up with the idea for the brainstorming session.
The paper is then passed on to the next person, who expands on it as they see fit. The concept is then passed on to the next individual, who develops it further. The paper is passed around the group, and the final outcome is discussed with everyone.
Another advantage of this strategy is that it may be carried out virtually, without the need for actual gatherings. Google Docs is an excellent tool for this; the online documents can easily be shared and edited by the entire group.
7. Write It Out
When it comes to letting your thoughts run wild, a good old pen and paper will never lose its usefulness. In fact, some people love it because their minds work faster than their fingers, so by the time you finish putting down one thought, you’ve already had another. When many people type, on the other hand, they frequently start and stop, resulting in a considerably choppy process.
You can do this in any way you choose. Free-writing is especially useful for letting your mind wander. Write lists – this is a frequent brainstorming strategy for people who have no idea what the term means, so it appears that our thoughts function in this manner intuitively. You can also make mindmaps, of course.
One of the best aspects of writing is that you can take it with you wherever you go. Get a little notepad and keep it with you at all times, pulling it out when fresh ideas arise. I find that this puts me in a constant state of brainstorming, and I spend every minute of my day creating.
You can catch yourself at your most inventive when you take a consistent approach like this. When inspiration comes, all you have to do is sit down and start writing.
Whiteboards can also be very useful. It’s official when you hang one in your house with your significant projects or emerging ideas on it. It inspires you when you look at it. You come up with an idea and then add to it. It develops over time.
8. Give Yourself Omnipotence
Tim Ferris’ dream-lining technique is a good example of how to achieve this. When he sets goals, he asks himself what he would do in three months if he were the richest and brightest guy on the planet, and then works backward from there.
This effectively grants you freedom by removing all restrictions. You don’t stop yourself from brainstorming along a particular road because “Oh, it would cost a couple hundred thousand dollars,” and then move on to another idea. Instead, you come up with a concept that knows no bounds and figures out how to make it a reality.
9. Brainstorm the Outlandish
Take the preceding strategy a step further by visualizing nothing being impossible. People have completed some of humanity’s greatest triumphs by figuring out a method to do something no one thought was possible.
How can we launch a massive chunk of metal into the air and keep it aloft long enough to transport people around the world? How can I make a light that never goes out so that we don’t need fire to do things we can only do during the day? How can I create a technology that allows me to have a face-to-face conversation with someone on the opposite side of the world?
The only way to get impossible achievements is to set impossible goals for yourself and tackle them.
10. Walk Away From Thinking
Sometimes you become too engrossed in a subject and are unable to separate yourself from it, so your brainstorming may come to a halt or you may find yourself wandering in circles. What’s going on here is that you’re attempting to reason your way through it rather than using your imagination.
Getting out from behind the computer or desk and going for a walk or doing something that entirely removes you from the situation is often the best solution. Your brain may simply require some leisure to figure things out, and you’ll often discover that a revelation occurs minutes after you’ve forgotten about it.
The Power of Thoughts
Thoughts have the potential to be the most powerful force on the planet.
Indeed, they are so strong that our thoughts have put life on Earth in jeopardy — a frightening problem, to be sure, but a fascinating truth to consider.
Take a look around you. In your hand is a computer mouse. Your personal computer. It’s software that keeps it running. It is seated on a table. Look up at the ceiling, the walls that surround you, and the structure that houses the room. Outside, the streets and the entire city are laid out in front of you.
Everything you see and touch that was built by man began in a person’s mind and then proceeded through a process to become a reality.
Indeed, some philosophers and possibly even scientists believe that your entire existence is nothing more than a thought and that your own thoughts can be used to guide and shape the world around you.
I don’t want to get too philosophical on you today, but it’s evident that thoughts are a highly precious resource that wise men have recognized and even revered throughout history.
Will you have the foresight to see their worth? Choose one of these brainstorming exercises to begin honing your ability to generate ideas. Today, take on one of your most difficult issues. Make it a habit to do so.