Mind Pumping: “Pumping” it’s not for muscle only…
I started rereading Michael Michalko’s book: Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking techniques, as a source of inspiration for a post for this blog. This book is so amazingly rich on ideas and techniques on creative thinking, it’s absolutely dizzying. It seems that any 1/2 page would be enough material for a good LighBulbBite.
But since I had to choose, I’d like to try to summarize chapter two, titled Mind Pumping.
The author’s premise for mind pumping, is that if you want to be creative, it’s not enough to have the intention of being creative, you must act like a creative person by going through the motion of an “idea person“.
9 great Mind Pumping exercises
- Idea quota: Set yourself an idea quota for a challenge that you are working on; say 5 ideas, every day for one week. Having a quota forces you to actively generate ideas rather than waiting for ideas to occur to you
- Getting tone: Really paying attention to the world around you will help you develop the extraordinary capacity to look at mundane things and see the miraculous
- Dukes of habit: Instead of always doing the things the same way, deliberately program changes into your daily life: take a different route to work, listen to a different radio station each day (different newspaper), change your reading habit (fiction vs. nonfiction), switch hobby, etc…
- Feeding your head: To quote Gore Vidal, “The Brain that doesn’t feed itself, eats itself”. So, read to feed your mind but:
- Select carefully: how good an exercise for my creative mind will this provide?
- Take notes
- Read biographies: there are a treasure-house of ideas
- Read how-to books on any subject
- Read magazines on varied subjects
- Read nonfiction: when reading nonfiction books, practice thinking up solutions to any problems presented in the book. JFK’s favorite exercise.
- Think: think as you read and find connections/parallels between what you read and your problems
- Content analysis: observe the world around you (popular culture, your job, places where you travel, local/international news, conferences, etc…) and analyze what you see/absorb, look for connections, trends and patterns, and seek new opportunities/ideas out of your analysis.
- Brainbanks: collect and store ideas/thoughts like a pack rat: quotes, designs, ideas, questions, pictures, and words that might trigger ideas by associations. (I personally use Evernote for that very purpose).
- Travel Junkie: whenever you are feeling stale/bored, go to new store, trade/craft show, exhibition, library, museum, etc… Wander with an open mind and wait for something to catch your attention and connect it to your problems/challenges
- Think right: make your thinking more fluent (number of ideas) and more flexible (more creative).
- Making lists is a powerful way to increase fluency. Example: list all the possible uses of WD40
- Flexibility in thought means the ability to see beyond the ordinary/conventional. Be more improvisational and intuitive by focusing on processes rather than outcomes.
- Idea log: One of CIA’s favorite techniques for recording information in a written form. This enables the agent to instantly focus on all the ideas, comparisons, interrelationships and data relating to a given problem.
This was one chapter out of 39! Get the book for many more techniques/ideas.
Hopefully, this LBB will give you ideas on how to become more creative. Don’t try all of them at once but do try some and let me how know how they work out for you.
I invite you to share your thoughts, feedback or your favorite Mind Pumping exercises below in the comment area. Looking forward to reading them!