Why Some People Almost Always Have Better Ideas –
And How You Can Get Them, Too – Al Getler
Chances are that there are certain people in your life that always seem to be coming up with great ideas. Now let’s gather in a tight circle and be honest; aren’t those people so annoying?
While it is tempting to sign off here having satisfied your need and mine to classify those annoying idea people, let’s trudge on and figure out how they do it.
Better Ideas People Start With Life Long Learning
Albert Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
Notice that Einstein didn’t include, “But not on weekends, paid holidays, when you are sad your team lost, not on days when you go shopping, never when you are hanging with friends and only if there is nothing on TV.” I do have to admit that I always imagine Einstein sitting in a movie theater watching Three Stooges short movies and laughing his butt off. But I digress…
Ideas are spawned from other ideas. To get ideas you have to take in as much information as you can, no matter the circumstance. Does this mean your face is in a book all of the time? No.
Author of the books ‘Crush It’ and “Thank You Economy” Gary Vaynerchuk admitted in an interview I recently listened to that he doesn’t read a lot of books, yet he wrote two of them with a ghost writer.
Do not think for a second Vaynerchuk is not constantly growing intellectually. The guy seems to be a vacuum of information and observation and he prefers hanging out with old people so that he can learn from them.
Reading is absolutely a part of intellectual growth. I often say that I am really not sure how people expect to grow without making reading a part of their daily life. And, no, Fifty Shades of anything doesn’t count. I mean non-fiction books that expand your knowledge. Books in your field of work, books about things that interest you and books that expand a thought or a skill are what I encouraged as a part of your intellectual diet.
Better Ideas People Connect and Adjoin Ideas
There are so many ideas that begin as one thing and end up as something else. What is frightening is to wonder how many ideas were lost when someone didn’t make a connection and adjoin ideas.
Dr. Spencer Silver has his friend Art Fry to thank for connecting the glue he was trying to invent, to a piece of paper. Silver was trying to invent a super- strong adhesive, but ended up with a low-tack adhesive. His buddy Art applied it to pieces of paper for his church hymnal and the Post-It note was born.
Steve Jobs connected all the things we like within reach to bring us the iPhone. With one product we can do the basic things like call, text, email, browse, take pictures and listen to music. Add in apps and the world is at your fingers.
Better Ideas People Embrace Risk
Ideas come with risk.
When you put an idea out there you run the risk of someone saying that it is dumb. I can sit here right now, shut my eyes and think of a long list of people who I have worked with and a few I work with today, that have that reaction to new ideas.
I feel bad for people who shoot down others ideas before they even take flight. In fact, it is usually the fear of risk that causes these people to shoot down your ideas like skeet. You pull out an idea and, BLAM! Idea down.
You should feel bad for these idea shooting people, too. Then just navigate around them.
It is not nice to hate, but I hate idea shooters. Okay, sorry, I hate idea shooting tendencies. I think the people who have these tendencies can be taught to appreciate others’ ideas, but it requires duct tape.
Take a risk. Relax and do not worry about what others think.
Author and speaker Seth Godin writes, “Those who fear risk also begin to fear movement of any kind.” Fear of risk stops ideas before they even percolate.
Better Ideas People Have Lots of Ideas
Forcing yourself to come up with THE idea or ONE idea and you will render yourself useless. You will spend more time rejecting notions instead of getting ideas.
Use the process of MANY ideas and you will free yourself of the pressures of forming ideas in general.
Think about brainstorming sessions that are both formal (sitting in a conference room with a flip pad) or informal (deciding what to do on a weekend with a group of friends). Usually, unless you have an idea-shooter in your group (remember the duct tape), ideas jump around quickly and easily. The informal group decides pretty quickly, rejecting the ideas that do not have consensus and leaving one or two top ideas for a final decision. The formal group may have to vote, but can eventually land a single idea.
You can recreate the formal or informal approach to complete a list of your own ideas. Just remember that it all begins with a list of ideas. The list is made without risk.
Better Ideas People Capture Their Ideas
Moleskine books are so attractive to idea prone people. If you are not familiar with Moleskine, they make books of blank papers of many varieties. Holding one just makes me think. I begin to jot down thoughts, ideas and connections.
Evernote is a web-based idea capturing software. As they say on their website, “Evernote works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device out there.” This is a powerful tool that allows you to capture your ideas in writing, in a recording or with your device’s camera. You can even grab whole website pages for future reference and idea building
It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you begin to embrace and capture your ideas.
Better Ideas People Leave It to Their Subconscious
You have had the experience. I know you have. You are in the shower and you are hit with the best idea ever. You can’t believe that this idea hit you in such an odd place, but there it is; the godmother of all ideas.
It is actually really easy to explain. If you load that piece of hardware in your head with plenty of information; it continues to whirl, process and think even though you have moved on. Add in something as relaxing as a bath, a shower, sitting by the water, a long walk or even a bowl of ice cream and you suddenly get hit with a great idea out of the blue.
It really isn’t out of the blue; rather it is out of the YOU. Your brain, your knowledge base, your observations and connections brought that idea to formation.
Sometimes we can think the ideas right out of us. When you feel that happen, take a break and do something you enjoy. You will be surprised how the ideas bubble up. Keep your Moleskin or smart phone with Evernote nearby to capture them.
Better Ideas People Are Not Any Smarter Than Average, Usually
We had a railroad bridge next to my hometown newspaper (circulation 175,000). The bridge was clearly marked that it was low and trucks were discouraged from driving underneath it. Yet, despite the warnings, 18-wheelers would go through and get stuck.
Legend has it a truck was hopeless stuck one day. Engineers were called in from all around to decide whether to disconnect the bridge, disassemble the truck or simply pull it through and make repairs later.
A little boy was sitting on his bike taking the whole thing in. Finally, impatient with the scene, he walked over to a guy wearing a hard hat and made a suggestion.
“Hey mister,” he said to the man who was deep in thought, “Why don’t you just let the air out of all the tires and just drive the truck through. Then you can refill the tires and the guy driving the truck can keep going.”
It was a legend told around the newspaper. True or not, see the lesson.
Join the Better Ideas People
“Ladies and Gentleman, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.” – Dr. Sydney Freeman – MASH – Final Episode – “Goodbye, Farewell, Amen.”
Take the good doctor’s advice. Relax and let ideas flow. Don’t stress and enjoy the ride. Life is full of idea shooters and the stores are filled with duct tape.
How do you foster ideas? Where do you find the best ideas? How do you capture your ideas? Share your thoughts in the Disqus section after this post or by clicking HERE if you are reading it in an email.