No matter what your job is — no matter what you’re working on — creativity and resourcefulness are the cornerstones of building a successful life.
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote:
“It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you.” — Tony Robbins
History is filled with examples of people who’ve achieved epic things thanks to being resourceful, despite having a lack of resources.
One of my favorites is the story of how Peter Diamandis launched the creation of a spaceship. He did this with no money and no engineering ability but got it done purely through the raw power of resourcefulness.
Peter wanted a spaceship. Pretty ambitious, right? To start, he didn’t have the money, he didn’t have the technical ability — he didn’t have any real resources at all to help him build that spaceship.
And yet — through sheer creativity he created the X Prize– and found a sponsor to fund it — effectively leveraging some of the smartest people in the world to create dozens of space ship designs and ultimately produce the SpaceShipOne.
So if Peter can create a freakin rocket ship out of thin air — is it possible you could get a bit more resourceful and creative towards achieving your goals?
I’ve been there too. I was stuck in the same rut in my life — feeling frustrated and thinking that nothing I could do would make a difference in my life and business
But then I broke out of that rut by beginning a daily creativity practice that has helped me get super focused and incredibly creative.
It’s helped me begin building my own rocket ships and it can do the same for you, here’s how.
How To Build Your Creative Rocket Ship
The way I execute this is simple — every morning (at least three times a week) I force myself to brainstorm ten ideas.
This could be ten ideas for a new business, ten ideas to fix a problem in my current business, ten ways to get more customers, ten possible pivots for my business, ten ways to get more free time — any challenge you are facing in life or other areas where you want to improve and move forward.
I always keep a list of topics created ahead of time, that I add to on the fly using Evernote, so I don’t spend my time thinking “what should I journal about today?” — I always have a steady list of topics I want to apply this method to.
I’ve found this to be incredibly powerful.
In a company where I’ve recently taken over as CEO, I was facing a major challenge and I could not figure out how to solve it. I kept thinking of one or two solutions but was telling myself (in my internal dialogue and self talk) “there aren’t many things I can do to solve this problem.”
So I added that challenge to my list of topics to journal on.
When I set out to brainstorm 10 ways to solve this problem — I ended up finding 18 possible solutions — none of which I had implemented or executed yet.
It is much easier is it to face that challenge now, knowing that I have a tool kit of 18 possible solutions that could work to resolve it. It took less than 30 minutes to come up with those ideas.
So how do you do it? It’s pretty simple.
· Use a tool like Evernote to keep a running list of challenges or topics you want to brainstorm on
· Make sure you are distraction free when doing this exercise
· Set aside 15–30 minutes in the morning, a few days a week. A time constraint is good as it keeps the exercise from becoming overwhelming and also forces the brain to be creative.
· Brainstorm ten ideas or more on how you could solve this challenge in your life or business.
· Here’s another secret — don’t worry if they are good ideas or bad ideas — there is a distinction between idea creation and idea selection — you can’t be as fully creative as you need to be if you’re in selection mode — so throw off the shackles of judgment and just throw ideas out there. The more bad ideas the better.
Woah There’s Science That Backs This Up Too?
You bet there is! — there is a bunch of science that backs this idea up.
There is some fascinating research that has been written about this. Much of it popularized by Dr. Adam Grant in the book Originals. He also shared this insightful example in a recent interview:
“I was reading [Dean Simonton’s] research and he said, in a nutshell, that the more bad ideas you have, the more creative you are. I read that and I thought, “What? How could this be true?” I thought I always had this vision of creative people as dreaming up there masterpiece and then going and executing on it… What Simonton shows very clearly in his data and now we have experiments also showing that it’s s true for ordinary people, not just sort of outlier original thinkers, is a huge part of creativity is the volume of ideas that you generate…
So if you look at Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, one of the things that differentiates them from their peers as they produced not just a few more, but hundreds more compositions, into the 600 and 700. At least in Bach’s case, I think about a thousand, when most of their peers we’re in the sort of below a hundred range. And there’s a really nice linear relationship — number of compositions that you do in a lifetime and your eventual greatness… We see this in all kinds of domains.” — Dr. Adam Grant on The Science of Success
Looks like it’s time to get out there and generate some bad ideas.
Forming this habit was hard at first, but now it’s so much fun coming up with new, creative and whacky ways to look at, think about, and solve challenges in my life.
I find my brain is actually addicted to it — when I don’t do the journal in the morning my brain keeps going “hey when can I do some brainstorming? When can I unleash my creativity on something?”
It’s like weight lifting for creativity and resourcefulness. Try it for a week and you will be amazed how powerful it is. And maybe, just maybe, you can start pulling some rocket ships out of thin air, too.
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