You’re an idea factory. Every day your brain processes millions of thoughts, from the mundane to the truly remarkable. Some of the thoughts you are threading together today could literally unleash a life-changing idea tomorrow. As Jim Rohn once said, “Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.”

So it’s vital we keep our idea factory pumping out at high volume. Here’s are five ways we can keep our idea factory humming along:

  • Curb the self-criticism. Not every idea you conceive will be a life-changer or, for that matter, necessarily any good. Get used to it and be okay with it. Good ideas come from producing lots of ideas. One of the fastest ways to shut down your idea factory is to expect too much of every idea and conclude that you’ll never come up with a good one.
  • Steer clear of critics. We all long to have our ideas validated by the community we care about. But beware the person who’s quick to comment on your idea without helping you build upon it. Of course, some people naturally see flaws first, and they can be helpful. But many others are more interested in promoting their own self-importance than in creating a great idea. Find those who really want to help you improve your idea.
  • Keep an ample supply of energy. Ideas can’t flow from the factory when no energy is flowing to the plant. And don’t fall for the mistaken belief that the best ideas come under pressure. Rest rejuvenates the spirit and the best ideas you’ll produce are not imposed through deadlines but incubated through meaningful reflection.
  • Push yourself. It’s far easier to settle into our routine than to push for a more bold idea that might require more of us. But complacency is the idea factory master-off switch. We not only stop generating our own ideas, we become threatened by the ideas of others that might disturb our comfort zone.
  • Get outside your circle. Perhaps nothing shapes new ideas more than the people you spend the most time with. That’s why organizations that are slow to change are most likely to experience “group-think,” where only the commonly acceptable ideas are considered. Instead, cultivate your ideas with those outside your current crowd.

What are ways you’ve found to keep your idea factory humming?

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