by Pranay Parikh | Aug 17, 2020 | Efficienccy, Experience, Learning
The best Ideas take time to make. Like a perfect vintage of wine. Effort, time, and luck.
There’s a handful of times a good idea has struck me. Just a few. But I think back now. Was it really luck that idea came to me? Probably. Destiny? Maybe. But there were people that seemed to have good ideas on a regular basis.
How could I become one of those people? How did I have good ideas? Would I have better ideas if I intended to? There was only one way to find out.
How I created fertile ground for good ideas?
Good wine starts with good grapes. These come from fertile ground.
I try to set the right atmosphere for great ideas. Remove distractions. Water the ground. Remove the weeds. Pray for a great harvest. The rest of those early times our out of our control.
I have two separate processes for this depending on the types of ideas that I am trying to have. Am I trying to come up with an idea that is outside of my comfort zone or an idea for a subject or process that I already know?
I try to set up the environment to match this process. If I’m working on a current project such as a blog post or a new video. Something that is a continuation of a current project then I’ll go to a familiar spot. Set up for comfort. Somewhere I know well. The rest of the process is the same.
Turn off notifications. Block off some time on my calendar. Free me from distractions or what I call mental weeds. They come up and choke life and sustenance from our fertile ground. Then do the hard part. Sit there in silence and think.
Now if I’m trying something new, a new project. Something outside of my comfort zone. I’ll try to go to a new place. I don’t have much space in my small apartment so will try working somewhere different.
Maybe I’ll stand instead of sitting. Or sit on the ground. Usually, the ground is left for serious problems when all the other places aren’t working. When was the last time you sat on the ground? I rarely do. It really feels different.
We have the most control in the beginning. Think about a color. I’ll wait. What was it? Why did you think about that color? Now think about another. What color was it? Any idea why that one came up instead of green. Or maybe it was green. Why wasn’t it blue?
What comes to us after we sit down, we have little control over. But our mental state and environment at least we have a little power over.
Feed your creativity
Great wine comes from happy grapes. You can’t just plant in the best ground and expect good grapes to pop up. You have to be careful with what you feed it. From the day the seeds go in till the day you pick them, the nutrients you give it will affect its taste.
So how do we feed our brain so that it has good ideas? You feed it with good ideas from other people. Something challenging. Or maybe outside of your knowledge base. I try to read, listen, and watch stuff from wide array sources. Of course, there are a few from stuff that I’m trying to learn.
For example, I listen to a bunch of podcasts on medicine to keep my skills sharp. But even then I try to keep it varied. I’ll listen to internal medicine podcasts. ER doc podcasts, critical care.
I also listen to podcasts on online marketing or history. You never know what can spark a good idea so I try to keep the nutrients that I feed my brain well-diversified.
On the other side, I also try to limit the junk food that I give my brain. I limit the amount of TV I watch and am more intentional with where I get any of my inputs.
That’s not to say all TV is bad. It’s more likely that I’d get a spark for a good idea from an article from a blog I follow or a podcast than I would from a TV show.
Sometimes it’s not enough
Now you’ve started off with fertile ground. Fed your brain the best of nutrients and you’re sitting there without an idea at all. Sure, you may have some not so great ones. What should you do?
As much as I’d love to say there was a solution. There’s no way to force good ideas to come. Rain doesn’t come no matter how hard we wish it.
We need to wait. Give it time. Some of my best ideas have come when I was doing something else. Not even thinking about what I needed to come up with an idea for. So what gives?
The missing ingredient needed was time. I needed to give my idea a chance to grow. My brain was working on coming up with a solution that I needed in the background. My grapes were growing.
So how do I put this into practice? It means that I’m not waiting till the last minute. I need to sit down and work on my big projects on a regular basis and give my brain time to come up with the ideas I need.