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There is a creativity technique where if you want to come up with one idea, then you should try to come up with a hundred.

After writing the past few articles in the "Life" series, it struck me again that I'm really slow at taking action on realizations. Perhaps we all are, and at least I get there in the end. But, how could I have gotten started quicker? In my case that was on media/production. I had the "plane" realization in 2009, but it took me until 2015 to write my first public article, 2017 before I did a podcast, 2018 before I started doing video regularly...

There is another "golden rule" in creativity and that is to write down things that come to mind that seem interesting, uncommon, or that you're constantly drawn to (one example for me was the idea of being an audio engineer, another was learning to play the guitar, for me the word "uncommon" itself had a nice ring to it so I wrote an article about it later). Let's make that Tip #0 for this list, and in this case I can really vouch for the usefulness of it (not sure I can say the same for all of the others!) Keep detailed notes of your ideas on your notepad / computer / phone (I do all three).

So, using the technique I talked about earlier I'm going to come up with as many ideas as I can in 5 minutes on how I/you could go faster. Disclaimer, this is just a braindump, I'm not necessarily telling you to do all of this, but it is food for thought, and it might point you towards an idea that works for you.

Here is what I came up with in the first round:

  1. Do a course (preferably in short chunks/online)
  2. Get 1-on-1 coaching
  3. Go to a meetup
  4. Join a mailing list / find sites on social media to follow
  5. Make a small investment e.g. buy a cheap guitar / camera etc and try it you
  6. Commit to presenting something in public
  7. Volunteer at work
  8. Do the thing and then put it online (as an article, video etc)
  9. Talk about the thing with several people
  10. Go to an information day
  11. Read the top three books on the topic, summarize them and post online
  12. Get an advisor/mentor in the area
  13. Get expert advice / hang around a shop where the thing is
  14. Look for overlaps between the thing and your other passions (this is the three circles exercise in The Good Life Book)
  15. Set a goal (in the next month) to do the thing
  16. Write a business plan for the thing
  17. Find out what a typical day in the life of the thing is (find honest interviews of people doing the thing), and visualize in detail yourself doing it
  18. Start a business to do the thing (could be a side-hustle)
  19. Run an awards show on the thing
  20. Imagine you'd quit your job on Friday. The next Monday at 7am, write a plan for your week (actually do this planning thing next Monday)

The principle of the technique is that the first suggestions you come up with might be sensible, but trivial and not creative. The more you push on to get more and more suggestions, you move past your Ego and hopefully come up with something more distinctive. Now 20 more:

  1. Marry someone that does the thing (later: I thought you could just ask your relatives or network if they or someone they know does the thing)
  2. Hang around in places where people do the thing professionally
  3. Research the mistakes beginners make doing the thing, and write and publish an article about that
  4. Dress as the person doing that thing would at work/out of work
  5. Spend a weekend immersed in the thing from morning to night
  6. Do the thing for a friend
  7. Make a song about the thing
  8. Find out all the different types of jobs they have at companies that do the thing
  9. Research the top people or companies doing the thing, and find out what makes them the best
  10. Find a person from your hometown or school that is doing the thing and contact them
  11. Host a social event for people doing the thing
  12. Organize a seminar on the thing
  13. Walk, listening to a podcast about thing
  14. Move to the city/part of town where the thing is
  15. For an event about the the thing, offer to film/stream it
  16. Go to the local college/university and speak to the faculty about the thing
  17. Make a podcast about the thing (perhaps where you interview people doing the thing about the thing)
  18. Draw a picture of yourself doing the thing
  19. Make a book of your attempts doing the thing
  20. Plan a working vacation to a place known for the thing
Again, the sense, viability or perhaps even legality of these suggestions might not work for the thing that you are thinking of. But maybe in this list of "wacky" ideas there is something that will trigger an idea in your mind for what to do.
I'm a big fan of getting people to create a piece of content about the thing that they want to do. It could be an article or video summarizing the research they've done about the thing. Research is passive, but creating (writing, filming) flips that switch into active mode. There are always people looking to do the thing you want to do, but are at an earlier stage than you. Your investment of time in researching and summarizing will help them and help you.

And I tried another batch of 20..

  1. Create a list of all the reasons why the thing WILL NOT work for you
  2. Create a list of reasons that you won't do the thing (even if you could)
  3. Make a t-shirt with your passions on it and wear it around town
  4. Get a foreign language book on the subject, in a language you wish you spoke
  5. Play sport at a place where people doing the thing play sport
  6. Tell the waiter at a restaurant that you're interested in doing X
  7. Find a way to do X as part of your existing job
  8. Volunteer to help with X

Well, that is as far as I got so far. Another interesting thing about creativity is that if you apply your mind to solving a problem, then step away you might get a flash of insight later on e.g. in the shower or on a future occasion when you sit down to think about what do to.

So, will you try to find 1-3 ideas from the list and do them? Will you try to come up with your own list?

In The Good Life Book I talked about REAL and DEEP as ways of taking action. REAL stands for Research, Engage, Analyze and Learn, the principle here is that you to quick research then find one real world thing to do/experience then you reflect on that and document your learnings. DEEP stands for Decisions, Experiences, Experiments and Projects... all of these are different forms your action could take.
What is one decision you could make that would bridge the gap between where you are and the thing?
What is one experience you could have, an experiment you could conduct, a project you could form.
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