Stretch and Build Your Idea Muscles

We all know that exercise is beneficial to us in many ways. But we need more than physical exercise...

I do some form of exercise almost every day. I run, swim, lift some weights, bike... I like to vary it to keep it interesting and work various muscle groups - and give others a chance to recover...

It does help me to work better; it enhances my concentration, ability to think, and endurance...

But I have felt that something is missing. I have felt that not all of the juices are always flowing...

So, I have begun to practice a new type of exercise...to get my creative juices flowing more freely. I have heard it called "ideation" some time in the past...but I just call it exercising my creative side.

It's simple, and I'll get to it in just a second. But first, I stumbled upon it in an email. The email was from James Altucher, author of numerous books.

The new exercise I've added to my routine is simple, practical, and geared to getting my "idea juices" flowing. I simply write down 10-20 ideas at the beginning of the day.

Yesterday, I found that, as a result of this, I had engaged something in my brain which continued to think about ideas. I found that I had increased energy and animation...

It's a lot like the concept with physical exercise...that you don't just burn calories when you are exercising, but by having exercised you also burn more calories even when you are not exercising. In other words, when you exercise, you increase your metabolism.

When you exercise your idea muscles, particularly in the morning, I find that they are more active all day.

Our minds can only think through a few things at a time. If we have a problem to solve, just a few ideas tend to float around in our heads. Putting pen to paper with those ideas helps to sort through that and expand our capacity.

I find that when writing down my ideas, I can quickly come up with 3-5 ideas...then I being to stall a bit. By the time I hit #7 or so, I am really working at it.

What can you write ideas about? The answer is simple: anything you want! For me, it could be the problem of the day. I will just st down and start thinking away on the problem...and it truly gets me moving toward solutions, sometimes very quickly. Sometimes I will also try to attack longer range problems with an idea-generating session. I find that these tend to lead me in the direction of focusing on a shorter-term aspect of the problem, and generating ideas for those.

The best apart about this is that, once you do it a few times, it's fun. I am also finding that if I miss it - just like with physical exercise - I REALLY miss it and want to get back to it.

Try it. I think you'll like it.

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