This simple exercise will extract your brain's fullest innovative potential
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
As an entrepreneur always looking to reject "conventional", I've found that writing down my ideas is instrumental to increasing creative problem-solving.
Many years ago, I had a fascination with dreams. I wanted to remember my dreams better, instead of forgetting them instantly, so I researched ways to do just that. I came across what I thought at the time was a trivial tip: to write down your dreams immediately when you wake up.
I gave it a shot, and to my surprise, it worked too well. I was remembering my dreams with great detail, even years after having them. All by simply writing them down each morning over the course of a few weeks. Soon after starting this practice, I quickly began to remember more and more dreams each night. My dreams even became more vivid and realistic each night. Not something I expected to happen by doing this simple act of jotting notes.
Similar can be said with our novel ideas: when you write your ideas down, you not only remember them and can refer back to them, but you also train your brain to identify innovative ideas more often. What's more is that your strokes of brilliance start getting even better partly because you can identify them more often and can review older ideas. It's a virtuous cycle that results in you being an astonishingly creative thinker.
What to jot down? Anything that pops into your head that you think others may not have considered before. You likely have—at the very least—unique thoughts or even simply unique ways of articulating your thoughts. On the other hand, you may have groundbreaking ideas that the world needs to hear. You probably have these kinds of great ideas once or twice a week, and the groundbreaking ones might come once or twice a year.
Do you remember all of these great ideas? If you're like me, you've had transient bouts of genius, but at present, you are unable recall what they were if there was a gun to your head. Maybe it's an idea for an invention, a business idea, a brilliant advertisement, jingle, slogan, a strategy or solution to a big problem... whatever it was, or however great it may have been, it briefly floated into your purview, and then escaped into the ether.
I'm no psychologist, I just know there is immense power in writing down your best thoughts. It's a cool trick. A hack to improve your innovative thinking, and lessen your dependence on only saying or doing what's been done before, whether in business or life in general.
By the way, this idea of writing things down is itself nothing new. Besides being the secret of many famous leaders and innovators throughout history, I personally know of a dozen entrepreneurs and inventors who employ this trick. I've even heard comedians talk about using it to remember funny jokes that cross their minds when they least expect it.
If you don't already, start keeping a notebook with you at all times and capture your best thoughts for later use. Otherwise, you're letting your subconscious genius fade into oblivion.