The process of breaking through your internal barriers to creating new ideas
|I’m wondering if you’re anything like me and have a ton of books in your “Save for later” category on Amazon.|
You know, the books people recommend on your Zoom calls, podcasts, and Facebook groups, listed in the back of like-minded author’s books, and more.
Well, I finally went through mine last week and was pretty surprised at the number of books I’ve saved. Of course, I have no clue who recommended them and why. So it was a bit of clicking and reading to figure out which ones would make it into my cart.
I ordered a slew of them and just finished one that I thought was incredibly intriguing and worth sharing with you outside of my weekly book review.
Truthfully, I’ve gotten my book reviews lined up a few weeks in advance, and I won’t get to this one for a few weeks! Hence, I thought sharing this sooner would be best.’
This book is only 48 pages, and its trim size is 5×7, which is relatively small. Yet, within those pages, it’s jammed packed with one of the best summaries of the process to create new ideas.
I remember how I found this book too. I’m in a marketing group filled with A-list copywriters and ads people that have been around for ages and always have these terrific classics they recommend.
The book I’m talking about – A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young.
It was published in 1940 and has been a classic in the field of advertising and creativity.
Young had an interesting background in advertising, having begun his advertising and copywriting career at J. Walter Thompson.
If you know this book and have read it, you know the treasures within its short pages.
It’s a fascinating journey into how to break through your barriers to create new ideas.
One of the things I loved about it was that I felt normal after reading it. You know when you’re in that whirlwind of creativity mode for a few days, and then suddenly you slow down and feel like a sloth for a few days, then you pick it back up again?
Well, that’s normal and part of the creative process. So why do I keep beating myself up about it?! That’s gonna change now. 🙂
Let me outline the 5-Step Process of Breaking Through Your Barriers to Create New Ideas:
Keep in mind this process isn’t “new.” Yet, I found it to be a more succinct and clear process from idea to creation.
1. Gathering raw materials: This step involves collecting all the relevant information and knowledge about the immediate problem or subject. This includes researching, reading, and observing specific and general materials to understand the issue thoroughly. This could be a course on its own – How to research, organize and gather these materials.
I use Evernote and create notebooks and notes for the book I’m writing. Others use index cards or MS One Note. The gathering, labeling, filing, and pulling it all together is huge.
2. Digesting the material: After gathering the raw materials, it is essential to analyze and digest the information thoroughly. This means breaking down the material into its component parts and organizing it in a way conducive to generating new ideas. Hence Step 1 is critical. At this stage, it’s ok if everything is jumbled up in your head because it prepares you for the next step.
3. Incubation: This step involves letting the information and ideas sit in the unconscious mind without actively thinking about them. It is essential to give your mind time to process the information without actively thinking about it. It allows the mind to continue processing the data and making new connections.
You take a break from the problem and do something you enjoy, like taking a nap, walking, driving, shopping, or reading something completely different. This will help stimulate your imagination and emotions, and it’s okay to take some time to recharge.
4. The birth of the idea: This is the moment when a new idea suddenly comes to mind. Maybe you’re in the shower or writing in your journal. This step is often described as the “Eureka!” moment or a sudden burst of inspiration. Remember, a new idea is simply a recombination of elements or old ideas.
5. Development of the idea: Once the spark of an idea has been generated, it is vital to develop and refine it. This involves evaluating the idea, testing it against the original problem or objective, and making any necessary adjustments or improvements. Then it might be best to share it in a beta test or with a small group.
You can use this process from writing a book to creating a course, writing copy, creating the launch of your next product, and so much more.
Two interesting side notes:
1. Young’s book came from a lecture he delivered to graduate students at the School of Business of the University of Chicago for the first time.
2. Einstein refers to this process as intuition. Which he considers is the only path to new insights.
Quote I’m Pondering:
“He has only the land within his own mental vision. Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement comes apparent failure and discouragement.” ~ Florence Scovel Shinn, The Game of Life and How to Play it – Published 1925.
This leads to one of my favorite quotes by Fannie Flagg: “Don’t give up before the miracle.”
Books I’m Reading:
A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young
Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging by Scott Stratten
Latest Book Reviews:
The Soulful Art of Persuasion by Jason Harris
Alchemy, The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic In Brands Business and Life by Rory Sutherland
Let it snow, snow, and more snow. Our 5th snow storm in winter – whoa, I think we may have a record. It usually snows here maybe once in three years. Not this year! It definitely makes for some fun photos of Emma and me romping in the snow.
This is the month of green!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!An Irish blessing for you:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
May the rains fall softly upon your fields.
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