We’ve all been there. We sit down at our desk in our office and think, “Okay, brain. We’ve got to come up with a creative way to say this, show this, or communicate this truth or this idea. Let’s make this happen.“
It’s a maddening feeling. Because the last thing we want to do is communicate the same amazing truths, but in the same tired, old way. But the creative and fresh ideas don’t come. And we end up pulling out some idea we did last year and making it work again.
Fresh ideas are like anything else, you have to create the right environment for them to grow. Great ideas hardly ever just show up, they are created because you have put disciplines into practice that make them possible. And, no, there is no secret formula that works for everyone for how to keep fresh ideas coming, but you need to decide what regular disciplines you are going to implement that work for you. These are three disciplines that if you put any one of them in place, they will help create a more fertile environment for fresh ideas to be born.
I know you already know this one. But it really might be the most important way to keep ideas generating. Reading other people’s work, regardless of genre, makes our minds come alive. And I get it, not all of us love to read, but if you love great and fresh ideas, find a way to make time for this. Set a goal for how much you will read everyday. Yes. Everyday. It exercises your mind and teaches it to remain sharp. Remember, no one ever said, “I wish I hadn’t read and learned so much today.”
Podcasts are a treasure trove for helping create new ideas. Find a few you love, and make use of your daily drive time. But, in my opinion, the best way to utilize them, is listen to podcasts that have different opinions and different world views than you do. Listen to people you disagree with and instead of letting them bother you, let them challenge you. I find that after I listen to alternate world views, I’m able to think through new ways to communicate the truths I believe.
Ideas are like Chick-fil-a biscuits on a Sunday, they seem to never be available when you really want one. So you’ve got to find a system for keeping and organizing your ideas. Write them down somewhere, store it, and keep a list. Because it inevitably happens to us all, we read the book or listen to the podcast and have a BRILLIANT idea, and then we are CERTAIN we will remember it later. Then we want to remember it later and, like that biscuit, it’s no longer available. Ideas have to be cared for, stored, and organized in way that makes them available when you need them.
Fresh ideas matter. Fresh ways of communicating timeless truths matter. So take the time to implement some disciplines that will help create the environment for these ideas to flourish.
What about you? What do you do to keep ideas fresh?