This guest post was written by Glen Allsopp, the author of PluginID.
About a year ago, I feared I would struggle to build an audience for my new personal development website. My fear was solely based on the fact that I had just turned 19. I simply assumed most people would question my age, and thus, my advice. After all, I haven’t lived as long as many of you who are reading this right now.
I did, however, manage to break my own limiting beliefs by sharing quality information and using my fresh personal experiences to my advantage. Just last week a friend from the speakers club I go to came up to me and said, “I love your website, but how do you do it? Where do you get all of your insight from? I’m 40 and I haven’t even come to some of these realizations yet.”
At the time, I had to give a quick answer and it probably wasn’t the best advice. However, now that I’ve had more time to think about it, there are certain principles I follow that have allowed me to generate loads of new ideas and insights in a relatively short timeframe. I’ve come to realize that ideas don’t tend to just ‘come’ to me, but instead there are clear-cut actions I take to produce them.
For a little boost of creativity and insight, follow these 5 steps.
Think Before You Sleep
Although you may not be aware of it it, even when you’re sleeping your brain continues to process and evaluate your ideas and thoughts. Throughout history, famous figures like Napoleon have stated that they focus on their problems just before they sleep, and tend to have an answer when they wake up.
As soon as I read about this, I instantly remembered how many times I had solved an issue of mine just minutes after waking up. The stresses of our daily routine can sometimes get in the way of our creativity, but if we focus on our thoughts, ideas, and insights minutes before bedtime, our subconscious mind will ponder it all while we rest.
Don’t Let Your Beliefs Limit You
I thoroughly believe that at times we stall on executing excellent ideas and solutions simply because we think they are too obvious or too easy. We think about it too much and convince ourselves that it’s silly or not worth it. At other times we doubt the fact that we are even capable of coming up with good ideas nobody else has thought of yet.
If you let your beliefs limit you, like I almost did by telling myself that I was too young, then these beliefs will always hold you back. Realize that you are a unique person with the ability to create and conjure ideas that no human has had before you.
Read Relevant Books
Truth be told, I’ve never been a big reader… at least not until the last year or so. In the last 12 months I’ve probably read more books than I did during the previous 18 years of my life. So it’s no coincidence that I’m now coming up with more practical insights than I had in the past.
It’s been said that you can become very knowledgeable about something just by reading 3 quality books on the subject. Of course, it also helps if you concentrate on reading books that pertain to subjects you have an interest in. If you enjoy personal development, then two books I highly recommend are Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Remember, humans have been around for thousands of years. There’s lots of excellent information out there to digest.
Take and Review Notes
I think this is the most important habit of all. Think of a book or great article that you read in the last year. My guess is that you can remember some of the key points, but you’ve probably also completely forgotten numerous pages of useful information. Whenever I read a quality book, I either take notes at the time or go back through it and highlight my favorite points. I then review these points regularly until I have them ingrained in my mind.
This doesn’t apply to reading only. You’ll probably find that some of your best ideas come when you are doing something completely unrelated to the idea itself. In such cases, it’s wise to carry a small notebook or smart phone around with you so you can record your ideas on the go.
My Google Docs account is literally flooded with high quality notes from a number of my favorite authors and my own personal experiences. I tend to look through these notes when I need inspiration or just to refresh my memory.
Maintain an Open Mind to New Information
If you adopt the position that you know everything about a subject then you’ll obviously never come up with any new insights about it. Additionally, if you are too shortsighted to see that some of your current beliefs may be mistaken, then you are completely inhibiting your peronal growth potential.
Instead, be open-minded and realize that there will always be more for you to learn. Of course, you don’t have to accept every new piece of information that comes your way, but at least evaluate it properly before discarding it.
I believe everyone, regardless of age or background, can come up with new ideas and excellent insights. You just need to know how to harness them.
Photo by: Stephen Poff