Is it best to come up with ideas in direction of interests?

boz ‏@bozwood: Although 1st 6mo of building idea muscle any list of ideas is good, is it best to come up with ideas in direction of interests?

Answer: its actually good to come up w at least 50% of ideas OUTSIDE your interests. You have 100 trillion synapses tht need exercising.

Your brain is pretty big. I forget how many neurons you have but you have something like 100 TRILLION synapses firing between those neurons. The more the synapses fire, the stronger the connection is between these neurons.

Let’s say have strong interest in sports and strong interest in politics and you have a lot of good ideas for both of those. Those areas of your brain are lighting up like the fourth of July. But the area of your brain involving gardening, or chemistry, might be dark. A ghost town. This is an overly simplistic view of the brain so think of it as a metaphor instead.

When you come up with ideas OUTSIDE your area of interest, you build up those synapses, you build up those neurons, you strengthen that part of your brain. Your brain is where the idea muscle lives. Where it atrophies through dis-use or turns into a superhuman machine with strong practice.

So practice coming up with ideas outside your immediate area of expertise. Several things might happen:

A) you find new things you were interested in that you didn’t realize

B) the ideas related to your interests might mate with the ideas related to things you aren’t as passionate about. I still think, for instance, a novel about an IRS agent who suddenly realizes he’s the heir to a long line of wizards would be an interesting story (Harry Potter meets the IRS, sort of).

C) It’s harder to come up with ideas about things you aren’t passionate about. When it’s harder, your idea muscle sweats, you get smarter, you become an idea machine. It might be painful now but thenext time your car breaks down in themiddle of the desert you might findyourself grateful tghat your idea machine is fully functional and ready to come up with possible solutions. Or the next time you go broke, for that matter, and have to fightto survive. Or the next time a business colleague tries to screw you over. All unpleasant things that you don’t want to deal with but it’s imperative your idea muscle is in top form in those moments.

Right now I’m about to get up from here and join Claudia and my daughter in painting with watercolors. I haven’t painted anything in years. I never enjoyed it. But I know when I get into it, parts of my brain start firing thatwere long dormant. It’s worthit to bring to life every part of your body and mind. That’s how you stay alive.