How To Come Up With Ideas When You Haven’t Got Any

James Altucher“How do I come up with interesting ideas when I haven’t got any right now?”

This question came up on the 30DC this week. Essentially the question is one which comes from someone who is so stuck, for whatever reason, their own creative well has run dry and they were half hoping, I think, that I would have some ideasĀ for them.

It’s not easy to get inside someone’s head when you’ve never met them and come up with an idea which might spark their interest and enthusiasm for their own creative or entrepreneurial project. I can do it on the phone with clients and, when I know them, this happens often. But we get our two heads together and we all know that’s better than one.

I can honestly say this has never happened to me; I’ve never run out of ideas. My problem is exactly the opposite. I was stumped. I had to ask John, a.k.a. The Boss. He was also stumped, but then he – like me – is another Creator. Ideas are both the curse and the blessing of the Creator. We often have far too many for ourselves. But one’s leftover and spare ideas are not really of any value to anyone else, not in the sense the questioner was asking of me anyway.

So I thought I would leave the conundrum for a bit. And I walked away from my laptop and started doing the washing up and then – wham! I remembered this genius post from James Altucher which addresses precisely this problem and even comes up with his own four step solution.

In How To Be The Luckiest Guy on the Planet in 4 Easy Steps, James describes his own process thus:

  1. Exercise for 20-30 minutes a day until you break a sweat; without being healthy you cannot be happy
  2. Remove all negativity drains from your life and reinstate some boundaries.
  3. Exercise your ideas muscle, he explains how
  4. Do something spiritual every day – pray, meditate, list your gratitudes, practice forgiveness and/or study some uplifting material (he makes some suggestions).

Here are the results you might expect:

  • Within a month you will notice coincidences and smiles and start to feel lucky
  • Within 3 months ideas will start to flow and you will feel the urge to execute one or two
  • Within 6 months good ideas will be flowing, you will be executing them and people will show up to help
  • Within a year your life will be completely different (so give it time)

Create a meaningful daily practice and this will work. Stop doing it and all the benefits drain away. So find something that works and stick with it every day for the rest of your life. That’s a formula for success.

I’ve implemented very similar strategies myself, never needed to do the ideas bit but I do the odd walk round the block or swim, journalling, counting my blessings, general all-purpose woo woo and spiritual reading and this does indeed lead to good fortune, better ideas and synchronicities.

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