I fell asleep on the couch in our family room the other day. As I lay there, our 1 year old daughter was walking around and playing and our almost 4 year old daughter was trying to get my attention because she wanted to watch Blues Clues. For those of you who don’t know, Blues Clues is a childrens learning television show where Steve and his blue dog go around and find clues to solve a puzzle/mystery.
But the point I am trying to make is that our daughter was trying to poke and prod me to wake up and help her find Blues Clues. And I just laid there and kind of groaned saying, “Just a minute.” It wasn’t until she yelled in my ear that I jolted up and said, “All right. All right.” Subsequently, I rubbed my ears trying to stub out the temporary ringing that ensued from her overtones.
The Blank Mind
Can you remember a time where you were trying to think of something to write or talk about? Perhaps you were preparing a presentation for a group and were just having difficulty thinking of anything. Maybe you just want an idea for your business to help it take off, but can’t think of anything. There are countless ways in which we want creativity and results, but our minds just don’t respond. This post addresses what to do when this happens. Take action on the following items and your blank mind just might light up like a Christmas tree.
Chances are, if your mind is blank, this is a clue to you to find existing material to use as a reference point for new ideas or to try experiments to get ideas and inspiration.
Grab something to take notes on (a writing pad, phone, tablet PC, etc…)
Grab a notebook, phone, tablet PC, or any device that lets you quickly jot down thoughts and ideas. Rapid note taking is the key here. For each item below, you want to be able to jot down ideas and thoughts quickly.
Start with what you are interested in
You probably have something you can narrow down to. If you are writing a book, what is it about? Is it fiction/fantasy, non-fiction, self-help, etc…? Are you giving a presentation on biology? Are you trying to find ways to get motivated? Jot down what exactly you are trying to get ideas and inspiration on. This will be crucial.
There’s plenty of television that can be watched. With cable TV, YouTube, your DVD collection, and a NetFlix account, there are endless options to view television and movies. Pick a favorite show and watch an episode. Sometimes a spark comes just from watching the characters in the show and the situations they are in.
Play with a child
If you have kids, this one is easy. After 20 minutes playing tag or building a fort with my daughter, my mind begins to light up due to seeing the many ways in which she uses her imagination. Kids are a fresh, creative jolt to the mind for ideas and inspiration.
Talk with another
Find someone and just bounce ideas off of them. The only caveat is the other person has to be in a brainstorming mood. If the other person is focused on something else or in a non-energetic mood, I wouldn’t try getting ideas and inspiration from them.
Ask what if, why, and how questions
Questions are a great way to get ideas and inspiration. I find that by asking myself questions, answers (whether correct or not) begin flooding in to my mind. I like to ask questions like this:
- “What if I had a million dollars?”
- “What if an asteroid hit the earth?”
- “What if I found a way to live forever?”
- “What if the country eliminated its debt completely?”
- “Why are the schools the way they are?”
- “Why do the politicians seem to bicker all the time?”
- “How do people get millions of dollars?”
- “How do happy people stay happy?”
- “How does one get in shape?”
You can customize What if, Why, and How questions to fit the subject matter you are interested in getting ideas about.
Go shopping and observe other people
Every time I am shopping at Wal Mart, I notice different situations with families and people. Some are happy, some seem content, and some seem downright grouchy. A few minutes of observation will usually create scenarios in your mind that you can use to create ideas from.
Use the internet to get ideas (images, websites, etc…)
Let’s say I am writing something and want to describe lightning. It’s important that I have a reference point for this. I like to use Google Images to do this. For instance, a google image search of ‘lightning’ will give me plenty of images with lightning in them. You can change the word lightning to whatever you want. Be careful about what you search and make sure safe filters are on to avoid harmful images.
Google web search can give you ideas too – just type in words related to what you need ideas on. Generally the first page of websites will have ideas for you. Don’t violate copyright or anything, just use it for ideas and if necessary reference the content on the site if you use it and the site allows it.
Listen to music
I use YouTube and Pandora to listen to music. This is like taking a pot of water and turning up the heat to start boiling it. It creates activity in the mind and stirs motivation. Without fail, music gets me into a better state to make progress in what I am doing. Trance music on YouTube is one way to get brain neurons firing.
Just start writing things down, saying different things, acting out parts out loud, communicating online with others. Try contacting a famous person and write about that experience. Try selling a product to someone and write about how that went. If you start taking action, chances are your mind will start to come up with more possibilities.
Take advantage of the tools and resources available around you. If your mind is blank, chances are this is a clue that you need to find existing material to use as a reference to get your mind stirring to find new ideas and inspiration.
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