How do we get good at anything – practice, practice, practice.
This point was recently hammered home while attending a conference where an interactive professor shared with us that he wrote one interactive exercise every day. To repeat he wrote one brand new exercise everyday.
On the second day of the conference, a humorist told us that he challenges himself to write seven jokes a day. Seven – a day!
And then I read about Thomas Edison, who held 1093 patents, he was a believer in exercising his mind and he gave himself a quota to create a minor invention every ten days and a major invention every six months. Wow.
Now clearly with this number of ideas being generated, not all of them will be good. Every interactive exercise will not be engaging, every joke will not be funny, every minor invention will not catch on – but the idea this that simply by generating the shear numbers will result in something being of use.
We need to continually exercise our brains and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a classroom, it can be done in the shower or while going for a run or while brainstorming or while meditating or while …
Does this seem too ‘forced’ – can we really churn out ideas on a regular basis?
While this may seem to neglect the spontaneity of idea generating, it is in fact training our brains to expect to produce results.
Rather than waiting for ideas to occur to you, consider generating ideas on a regular basis – write them down, don’t judge or scrutinize them just yet, just let them accumulate.
If you are trying to solve a problem, fix a relationship, become a better leader or partner or dog owner even, try giving yourself a quota and come up with x number of ideas per ____.
For myself, I am working on poems. I used to love writing and haven’t ‘used’ poetry as a tool since I was a teenager. It’s time to get it back and I have challenged myself to crank out a poem a week.
So far I have done tribute poems for early childhood educators, office professionals, healthcare providers, holidays and even one to welcome my daughter’s new boyfriend into our home. As an unexpected bonus, he wrote me one back that was absolutely hilarious!
I am having tonnes of fun with these poems and continue to surprise and amuse myself. Are they all great? Far from it, but perhaps one of them will be one day and in the meantime I am expanding the way I think.
Meanwhile, I will leave you with a little poem written especially for this occasion…
Thanks for reading what I write
There’s so much competition for your sight
I hope your mind starts to expand
When you challenge yourself to understand
That personal growth (professional growth) too
Doesn’t just start to happen to you
It needs to be nurtured and worked on and tried
It needs to be practiced and considered and defined
And I promise you’ll find that when you do
You’ll discover an even better version of you
There, that’s my poem for this week!
What could you do to generate more ideas?
Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success and an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker. She empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home. You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca.
* Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform proficiency. Less than 10 percent of speakers have earned this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields. Stephanie was one of only five professional speakers in Canada (and the only woman) to attain this designation in 2013.