Where Do Ideas Come From?
The dictionary says: "An idea is something imagined in the mind."
Obviously, according to that definition, I have to cause or persuade my mind to imagine something in order to grow, that is, produce a harvest of one or more useful ideas.
As you may know, thinking is hard work. It's harder than digging ditches. Imagination, for most people, is an even harder task. So, what I have learned is that when I need an idea I have to begin to dig in, cultivate, and nurture all of my thoughts in a way planned to eventually reap a rich harvest of healthy, useful, practical ideas. I find I must do this kind of hard thinking day-after-day and week-after-week, and even - while I am sleeping.
In my business, my clients often present me with assignments for jobs they want me to write for them. They always give me the assignment with what is usually an urgent "deadline,"and they say something like:" Terry, I needed this yesterday, so please come up with a good idea as soon as you possibly can!"
What I do then, with a notepad in my lap, is begin to ask my clients questions. I make notes of their answers. I ask what they have done in the past about this problem. Next I go back to my office read over again my notes and then I do as much research about the problem as I can think of.
Finally, I put all of that information, the facts and details I have gathered, into what I call my"incubator."
What, you may ask, do I mean when I talk about an"incubator." Here's what I have come to understand about the way I get useful ideas: I believe we all have two minds. One is our conscious mind. The other is our sub or super conscious mind. I've learned, over the years that my super conscious mind is most active when I am sound asleep.
So, at this point with my conscious mind full of facts and details about the problem at hand, if I still have not come up with a solution to the problem, I then put everything I've learned about the problem into the "incubator," the "back burner" so to speak, of my super conscious mind and just let it all - simmer while I do other things. I don't think about the problem anymore, and I turn the thoughts, of my conscious mind toward the activities and thinking that I need to do for the rest of the day at work.
Later, usually at night or in the early morning, my super conscious mindgives my conscious mindan idea that is like a diamond in the rough. I wake up, and write the seed of the idea down on a notepad I have on a nearby table.
Later that day, the hard work of polishing and refining this rough diamond of an idea with my conscious mind begins. After awhile, a few facets of the idea takes shape as a presentable idea. That is when I can then offer it to my client as my "new idea"about the best way to solve his urgent problem.
I believe the super conscious mindis a unique tool that we all need to nurture, cultivate and learn to use as often as possible because it is the source of all of our imagination and ideas.
Again, I think we all need to consciously try to learn how to make use of our super conscious minds. We need to understand the many benefits available to us when we constantly think about, search for and then find out as much as we can about how our super conscious mind works because - that is where our ideas come from.
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