Stuck for ideas?
No matter what you’re trying to think up ideas for, there are always great ways you can do this.
I’ll go through some of them and explain why sometimes the best ideas are staring you right in the face. Ready? Grab a beer and get comfortable because I’m not sure how long this post is going to be. It could be a beast, you never know.
The idea for this post itself came from the fact that I needed to get used to the keyboard on my new macbook air and it was the first thing that came to my mind. If you could see how many times I’ve mis-typed a word you’d probably laugh!
Anyway you don’t care about my laptop, you want to know how to get new, fresh ideas when it seems like you can’t think to save your life right now. Let’s get into it!
Where do ideas come from?
Usually, ideas come from other ideas.
Let’s say you’re watching TV and you hear an advert come on. The advert might have a song, and that song might make you feel a certain way. Maybe the song reminds you of a holiday you once took, and on that holiday, you ate really nice chicken.
Then, because you’re reminded of chicken, you think.. ‘I’m pretty hungry right now, maybe I should make some.. OH SHIT I’ve left the oven on and the pizzas probably burning’.
Ideas usually lead on to other ideas and this happens by causing you to go down some sort of chain.
Either you’ll be reminded of something, that then reminds you of something else and so on, or you think about something, which causes you to ask questions which then causes you to think up an idea, seemingly from nowhere.
There’s always some sort of ‘start point’ to an idea though.
This means we can induce ideas by putting ourselves in those situations that create ideas and ‘idea chains’. Sounds nonsense? Let me give you an example..
Let’s say you’re trying to think up an idea for a book to write. Normally people struggle with this and experience what’s known as ‘writers block’. This is where people can’t think up any ideas and struggle to know what to actually write.
The normal approach I think is to sit there until you come up with something. Maybe some people will suggest that you take a small break to get some inspiration and then come back to it.
Here’s what I’d suggest.
Starting now, start doing lots of little things that you don’t normally do.
If you normally brush your teeth with your right hand, use your left. If you normally get a coffee in the morning, get a smoothie. Take a different route to get to work… Wake up an hour earlier..
Do all of the things you don’t normally do, and make sure you always have a notebook near you. If you’re ready to write your ideas down at any stage, you’re much more likely to catch yourself having a really good idea! It might happen when you least expect it.
What you’re doing, is training your mind to think differently.
Humans are very much creatures of habit. I’ve wrote about this before, but what I haven’t spoken too much about is the fact that we can actually change these habits with a bit of effort. By changing the things you’ve done your entire life, your entire life changes. See my post about the habits of happy people.
You could start with little things like which hand you use to control the mouse on your computer and move to bigger things like the attitudes you hold about the world, who you spend time with and what your long term goals are.
You can also move to things like spending the first hour of your day differently.
Start thinking at different times o the day and see when you’re most effective. See when you have the best ideas.
Stimulate your mind
A great way to come up with new ideas is to subject your mind to ideas that will SPARK new ideas in you.
Start watching films you’ve never seen.
Listen to music you’ve never heard.
Talk to people that you’d never normally talk to.
All of these things will over time give you so many new ideas and ways of thinking that you won’t know what to do with them all!
Sleep on it!
Still one of the best ways to come up with something new is to just take a little break and sleep on it.
When you wake up, you’ll find that you’re ready to deal with the problem with a new sort of energy and you’ve got new ideas. Make sure to keep a notebook by your bed though, because more often than not when someone says to sleep on something you’ll have lots of ideas about that thing just as you’re going to sleep or waking up.
Make sure you’re able to write them down!
There are lots of great places on social media where you can get ideas and inspiration for your project! It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to get ideas for, there are some great sites out there to help you out!
The first one that springs to mind is buzzsumo. This is a site where you can type in a basic keyword about what you’re thinking about, and it will show you all of the most shared content around that keyword.
It lets you see what other people think is relevant in that topic!
Friends you haven’t seen for a while
Arrange to meet up with someone you’ve not seen for AGES.
This will help get your ideas flowing, because people are all different.
Chances are that your thought patterns are very similar to the people you spend most of your time with. If you’ve got a partner the chances are you think alike to some degree. This means that if you’re out of ideas or are struggling with something, the chances are your partner is too.
Change this up by meeting up with someone you’ve not seen for a while. They’ll have a different way of thinking about things that you might not have considered.
Having conversations in your mind
Start asking yourself different questions. Start by asking yourself ‘How would XXX deal with this?’ and then put yourself in the mindset of someone you know.
You can also try this with a famous celebrity or someone you look up to. Try it with people who are really good at what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to think up a new business idea, sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself ‘What would Elon Musk do right now?’.
You’ll be surprised how many ideas you can come up with by just pretending you’re someone else who has different ideas!
Hopefully this has helped in some way.
If you’re really struggling to come up with new ideas, maybe you should just take a break! It’s not always a bad thing. I’ve taken a few months out from writing this blog and I’ve now come back to it with so many fresh ideas I can barely sit still!