‘Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.’
There are many ways of generate creative ideas. The first uses the mind as an information and data processing device, reacting to the environment to create new associations, connections and solutions. The others use the deeper parts of the mind as a source of inspiration and ideas.
Here are some ways of coming up with creative ideas by accessing your inherent intuitive capabilities:
1. The stimulus-response method
Place yourself in a sensory-rich environment – one which stimulates and arouses the senses. For isntance, mix with lively people; they spark off new ideas. When stimuli act on the senses, they set off a chain reaction in which each thought sparks off new ideas.
For example, what do you do if you’re stuck for something to buy your mother for her birthday? You could tackle it in a logical way: make a list of the things she likes, cross off the items you know she already has, whittle it down to two or three, and then go to the shops. The chances are, though, your range of items would be rather limited.
- Wander through your local shopping centre, looking in shop windows and visit her favourite shops.
- Ask Dad for his ideas.
- Think about what other people of her age with her interests enjoy.
- Browse the internet and look through home-shopping catalogues, newspapers and magazines.
- Recall what gave her the most pleasure when you were a child.
One idea may lead to another and you’ll eventually find something suitable, maybe something you would never have thought of otherwise.
The stimulus-response method works best if you put yourself in a child-like frame of mind and free yourself from rational, adult thinking. Fun and laughter stimulate the brain to come up with new ideas.
2. Ask your Superconscious
Ask your Superconscious for help. Relax mind and body into the Alpha State and focus on a specific question. Be patient; your mind will carry on working on it even when you’ve turned your attention to other things.
3. Sitting for Ideas
Allow an hour for this method. Go to a quiet place. Dim the lighting. Have a notebook and pen ready. Then relax your body and sit patiently, ask a question and wait for the answer to pop into your head. Jot down any ideas that come before you leave the room.
Some of the greatest minds have this and used it to the full. Thomas Edison, for instance, used to sit in a chair clutching as small object. When he was so relaxed that the object fell from his hands, he asked his inner self a question and waited. He claimed the method was virtually foolproof. He remarked, ‘When you become quiet, it just dawns on you.’
In similar vein, when they were stuck for ideas Albert Einstein often sat staring at the clouds and eccentric artist Salvador Dali relaxed on his chaise-longue clutching a spoon. The biochemist, August Kekule, claimed to have discovered the structure of the benzene ring whilst nodding off in front of his fire.
4. Sleeping on it
There’s plenty of evidence that the sleeping mind solves problems more efficiently than the waking mind. To use your problem solving ability this way, write down your problem, read through it just before you go to sleep, and ask your Superconscious to work on it. Keep a pen and pad at your bedside: you may find the answer comes to you during the night.
However, you don’t have to wait until nightfall or put aside special relaxation time to tap into your intuitive mind. Many good ideas may come when you’re walking in the country, relaxing in the garden or lying on a beach. While your conscious mind is idling, your unconscious is busy. Carry a small notebook with you so you can record any precious gems.
5. Tune In!
These and many other examples suggest that there is a deeper level of wisdom which we can access when we quieten the conscious mind by stilling the thoughts. Imagine it as a TV station transmitting 24 hours a day. If you switched on your TV and all you got was a blank picture, would you immediately blame the TV station? No, first you would you check your set and check it’s properly tuned in. Intuition is much the same. Plug in, switch on and listen. Then act upon it.
In truth, what marks out the most creative people is not so much the ideas they come up with but what they do with them. Have you ever had an idea for a product, story, service, play or film etc. and failed to act on it, only for someone else to launch it and make a fortune? Do you ever look at something someone else has produced and think, ‘I could have done/made/written that!’?
What’s the difference? Simple: they trusted their intuition and acted on it – you didn’t!
©David Lawrence Preston, 28.7.2016
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How to Books, 2010