How to Train Your Brain to Have Bigger, Better, and More Awesome Ideas (on the Reg)
You’re in a bind. Whether it’s for a pitch, presentation, new product, or an important meeting, you need to be armed with a brilliant idea in your back pocket. However, no matter how hard you rack your brain, you’re coming up short and drawing a total blank.
We’ve all been there—feeling like you’re completely tapped out of genius creativity is definitely a discouraging and disheartening experience. But, what if there were certain things you could do to help you avoid that panic-inducing scenario altogether?
Luckily, there are. Use these four easy strategies and you’re sure to train your brain to have bigger, better, and altogether awesome ideas.
1. Keep a List
You probably could’ve guessed that this would appear here somewhere, so we might as well get it out of the way right off the bat.
If you’ve ever had one of those moments when you know you’ve had an amazing idea, only to be completely unable to remember it mere moments later, you already know how frustrating that situation can be.
Jotting things down the second they pop into your brain is a surefire way to combat this all too common problem.
I use a notes app on my phone to make sure I always have a method for keeping track of those fleeting bits of insight. I even keep one list that doesn’t have a specific, designated purpose—it’s just a place to drop all of those little nuggets of wisdom that aren’t yet a fully formed idea, but could serve as some great inspiration down the road.
Yes, it takes just a little bit of extra time and effort. But, you’ll be happy you have that easily referenced list when it comes time to think on your feet.
2. Use Yourself as Inspiration
I’ll be the first to admit that using yourself as a source of inspiration can seem almost unbearably conceited and self-centered. But, if you take just a minute to think about it, it starts to make a lot of sense.
Some of the best products were invented by people who had a specific problem they wanted solved. Some of the greatest discoveries were made by people who wanted an answer to a question that they had.
So, if you’re feeling fresh out of inspiration, don’t hesitate to look inside yourself. This process can even include looking back at some of your older work.
For example, when I’m really churning to come up with a solid article idea, I’ll read through some of my previous posts to see if there’s a smaller idea or tip that I could expand on in a totally new piece.
If you learn to implement tactics just like that for yourself, your own brain will transform into an endless well of resources.
3. Think Small
We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves when it comes to generating ideas. Our internal critics convince us that every single proposal we make needs to be solving a huge problem or making an immeasurable impact.
But, placing all of that weight on your shoulders will only make you crack. So, you shouldn’t be afraid to start small. Little ideas can often turn into bigger ones—and they’re much easier to come up with than those grand plans that seem impossible to wrap your mind around.
Don’t be so tight-lipped with your minor suggestions. They may not offer the answer for world peace, but they can still make a pretty big difference.
4. Leave Yourself Enough Time
Some of us work really well under the wire. But, when it comes to coming up with thoughtful ideas, it’s usually best not to pressure yourself with a ridiculously tight deadline.
Of course, sometimes those oppressive time restraints are unavoidable. However, when you have the option, leave yourself plenty of time to tap into your inspiration, brainstorm, and elaborate.
After all, hearing that subconscious ticking of the clock or the Jeopardy theme song playing on a loop in your brain will probably cause you to choke—leaving you with zero ideas to share.
We’ve all experienced those times when we feel like we’re fresh out of thoughts. However, that doesn’t mean you need to toss your hands up and deem yourself useless and uninspired.
Put these four easy tips to work, and you’re sure to be overflowing with brilliant suggestions in no time.
More From Inc.
- 5 Ways to Transform Brilliant Creative Ideas into Reality
- Why Your Brilliant Ideas Are Holding You Back
- The Value of Cooling Off Before Committing to Brilliant Ideas