Stress Addressed @StressAddressed: where/what were you doing when you got your best ideas? (stocktwits, reset, your blog) coffeeshop? walking? lying in bed? shower?
I get my best ideas when I am having sex. And when I’m having sex like that, its the best thing I can do to improve the world. Better than charity, better than giving money.
Ideas compound via idea sex. They love each other. They see each other in the street and within minutes they are kissing, feeling, smelling each other. How do we best fit together? How can we build a long-term relationship? Or is this just a one-night stand? Or will this be fun but not really work out in the long run. On and on.
So the key is to expose yourself to many ideas. So they can have as much pleasure as possible. This is not just about ideas but about creativity. Creativity multiplies until the entire world around you is humming from your busy children. How to increase the compounding:
A) Aggregate. List your ideas every day. Do this every day. After six months, maybe a year, of listing 10-20 ideas a day you might have one or two good ideas. Do you ever have to look back at them? Maybe yes, maybe no. Don’t pressure yourself on that. If you come up with one good idea this month, you’ll come up with two next month, regardless of whether or not you looked back on the good ideas. The key is to analyze.
B) Books. Read two hours a day at least. I try to read at least one non-fiction, one fiction, one spiritual book, one book about games. Everything gets the brain going. The non-fiction gets you a lifetime’s worth of someone else’s ideas in just a few pages. The fiction helps you see your own life through a filter of art. The spiritual book reminds you that you can’t control the world and that you must be grateful for the sliver of existence that has been sliced off for you and you alone. The book about games is for fun. The brain must have fun to prepare itself for sex.
C) Connection. The other day I met several people at a conference that I had been corresponding with for years. It’s one thing when you send people emails and learn over time to respect each other’s answers, writings, personality. It’s another thing when you meet and talk and see each other. Then you become friends. Ideas from smart friends are worth 100x the ideas you read. Figure out who you’re going to meet. Figure out how you are going to meet them. One tip: don’t say, “I want to meet”. Give them something. Make them feel they will have just as much value from you as you get from them.
I am so astonished at how smart some of the people I meet are. I steal all of their ideas. In subtle ways. I don’t directly copy them. I take their ideas and throw them into the fish net with the thousand other ideas I’ve collected while fishing. Then they all get to whisper and flirt with each other. And before I know it, baby ideas are born and I start writing them down.
D) Dance. Step outside your “zone”. For me, taking a water color class. A tango class. Doing yoga. Surprising someone. Listening to standup comedy. Playing music. Maybe most important: practicing (becuase it takes lots of practice for me) being present and not worrying about the past or the future. These are ways to play. When you play your mind travels outside of the normal three dimensions and five senses it’s carved out for itself in this world. It goes extradimensional and extrasensory. Are you reading this and thinking, “this guy is an idiot?” That’s fine. We won’t compete with each other.
E) Experience. Don’t judge yourself if you are not coming up with ideas that you like or if your ideas are failing or whatever. The key is to keep coming up with ideas, to keep doing them, to keep participating, to keep executing, to keep selling others on the benefits of your visions. How come? Else you are a lonely person sitting in a room writing down ideas. Eventually your ideas have to have sex with other people’s ideas, with other people’s experiences, with your experiences. Over time, you get a filter: what are good ideas and what are bad ideas. The best filter is experience. Don’t judge yourself harshly. You have many years to come up with many more experiences. I hope I do also.
F) Failure. Write down your ideas but assume that they suck. Assume everyone else’s ideas are better than yours. See what you can learn from everyone around you today. Imagine they are all better than you. You are a simple one year old, just stretching out in the world of success and experience. “But,” you might say, “I am a Yale graduate! I have started ten businesses! I have read 1000 books! I have 10,000 Twitter followers! I have 100,000 facebook fans! I have 1,000,000 dollars!”
Doesn’t matter. You are a gnat. And nobody cares. Look around at everyone you see today and humbly think to youself, “this is my teacher for the next moment. The ONE to lead me out of failure.” See what you learn from them. Write it down.
And when you have all the ideas you can possibly fill your head with, erase them all. Start fresh tomorrow.