ThINK it...

Here are three very important points I made in my book Milk & Cookies For Success:

1-The most valuable piece of real estate in the world (also the tiniest) is the small space between your two ears—that small plot that houses your brain (your mind) which defines who you are as a human being.

2-YOU (and only you) own that piece of property—it is ALL YOURS to develop as YOU want!

3-The mind is only as strong as its weakest think (like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link).

I also made these two recommendations:

1-Your mind is your most vital, most precious personal asset—take extremely good care of it!

2-Your mind is your most important, yet most underutilized personal asset—WORK IT TO THE MAX! And how do you work your great mind? Easy: thinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthink...

"Thinking is the hardest work there is—which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." Henry Ford

"Mental reflection is so much more interesting than TV, it’s a shame more people don’t switch over to it." Robert M. Pirsig, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

It is true that thinking is hard work, but it is equally true that good, prolonged, intense, creative thinking can be interesting, invigorating, and very productive. Especially for business people.

Never lose sight of the facts that, as business philosopher Brian Tracy likes to point out,

"Tomorrow’s achievements are determined by today’s thoughts. Your ability to generate constructive ideas is, to all intents and purposes, infinite. Every advance in human life begins with an IDEA in the mind of ONE person."

Here’s more from Mr. Tracy (from Universal Laws of Success and Achievement)

"It’s ideas that YOU generate that enable you to solve your problems, overcome your obstacles and achieve your goals. Ideas ARE the keys to your future. It’s hardly possible for you to achieve anything of note except to the degree to which you think and do something new and different from what has been done before. All it takes is a small innovation to lay the foundation for a fortune and great success in life.

Ideas are a mode of transportation, a vehicle that you can use to take you from wherever you are to wherever you want to go. There’s virtually no obstacle in life that you cannot overcome with the power of thought, with the power of creative concentration, with the power of ideas! Your job is simply to generate as many ideas as possible, to evaluate them carefully against your current goals and then to take action on them.

Napoleon Hill said that, ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ Your mind is structured in such a way that you cannot at the same time have an idea and not also have the ability to bring that idea to reality. The very existence of an idea in your conscious mind means that you have within you the capacity to achieve it.

Virtually every important turning point in your life will be marked by an idea that you’ve had at that time and that moment. ALL great changes in human life and human destiny begin with an idea that causes you to see things differently and take actions you would not have taken in the absence of that idea. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, whatever your situation, you have the creative capacity in the form of an infinite ability to generate ideas to solve any problem and achieve any goal."

Brilliant man, that Mr. Tracy. Speaking of brilliant, here’s an apropos observation from Mark Victor Hansen, the co-creator of the Chicken Soup For The Soul phenomenon and one of the most creative minds in the business world today:

"An idea is the one thing that takes nothing and turns it into something and it’s THE ONE THING that’s everything."

"Human history is in essence a history of ideas." H. G. Wells

It ALL starts in the mind... as Mae West once observed "Everything starts in the mind. Knowing what you want is the first step in getting it." Ideas, ideas, ideas... lots of ideas! Because as Emile Chartier wisely pointed out "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it’s the only one you have." Don’t let that happen to you. Follow Linus Pauling’s (two-time Nobel Prize winner) recipe for (business) success: "The best way to get a good idea is to get LOTS of ideas!"

So use your mind 24/7 to produce ideas, and more ideas, and even more ideas! The more ideas... the more BUSINESS SUCCESS!

...INK it...

And when you get an idea, or an INKling to do something, don’t just thINK it, INK it!

Always, always, always be ready to capture an idea that’ll pop into your head. They always show up unexpectedly. Some inventions—Velcro® for example—are the results of a single observation that was recorded on the spot and studied later. Never, never, never be caught without Pen & Paper (P&P) or your portable recorder or personal digital assistant, whatever works for you.

I’m always "ready." I carry P&P when I go jogging, biking, shopping. I have P&P by the bedside so I’m ready, whether I’m in bed to sleep (and dream), or to… you know … (my exes could tell you funny stories about that … well, funny now, a bit frustrating at the time).

But great ideas and a-ha! moments don’t care what else you’re ‘busy’ doing. They just show up! Be ready. You never know when the sky will open up and a beam of wisdom will descend upon you.

"Why is it I get my best ideas in the morning while I’m shaving?" Albert Einstein

I have P&P when I watch TV or movies—you can find diamonds there (yes, even on TV…). That’s how I was able to capture many of the quotations people find in my books and articles (and possibly nowhere else), including this one by mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe) in the movie A Beautiful Mind:
"Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful thought."

And when you DO discover one, WRITE IT DOWN!

"Creativity is more than painting, music, poetry; it is the ability to solve problems, develop unique strategies and contribute to relationships." said the late Sam Walton, founder and driving force behind Wal-Mart, who had a simple strategy: get out, look around, carry a notepad.

"I'm a great believer in writing things down. I know that if I don't write them down I'll never remember them all. That has nothing to do with age —I've been good at forgetting things since kindergarten." Peter Urs Bender

I could not agree more with Sam & Peter (above) and Roger (below). Don’t trust your memory! And, don’t use your mind, that wonderful computer-that-never-crashes, to store information. Think of your fantasterrific mind as pots and pans. You use pots and pans to cook food (boil, fry, sauté). You use storage containers (like Tupperware®) to keep your spices, rice, flour, etc. Imagine if you were to try and prepare a meal and all your pots and pans were full of stuff. Not practical. Same thing for the thinking process. Keep your ideas and facts stored on paper (in binders or journals), or in your computer. Keep your mind free of clutter—tabula rasa—so it can think unencumbered, process ideas, create plans, and develop strategies.

"A new discovery, a new idea, a new piece of information can come at any time. When it does, be ready to record it. Before I started this practice, I’d get these incredible thoughts —they’d light up my mind—and I’d say to myself, "I’ll write these down later when I have a pen and paper." Two hours later, when I had the appropriate tools, I had forgotten the idea. Now I write all of my ideas down, and at the end of the day or week, I comb through them to see what I’ve written. Even if 80% of them were trivial or repetitive, at least I’ve saved the gems." Roger von Oech

Don’t just think it, INK it! Because as the Chinese proverb teaches, "The palest ink is stronger than the most powerful memory."

... and INKubate it!

Ok, so you just generated some great ideas for your current business, a new business, or project, or for your personal life. And you wrote them all down. Bravo! Now what?

"INK it, then let it INKubate for a while." That’s the advice Nancy Morris gave her participants in one of her thought-provoking teleclasses. "It’s like when you make bread," she said. "You have to leave it alone for a while and give it a chance to rise on its own. If you poke at it before it’s time … POUF! It goes flat. But if you go away and come back later, you can turn that dough into just about any shape you want. Be patient."

Creative thinker Ed Bernacki once remarked that, "Not all ideas are the same. Some are seeds of great ideas while others are already fully developed. Recognize the stage of development rather than passing judgment too early."

You gotta give it time... or as Doug King wisely advised: "Learn to pause ... or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you."

"Send your inner judge on a holiday. Give your ideas time to percolate before assessing them." Jim Canterucci

Instead of trying to solve a problem by trying to solve it, sometimes letting go and turning the problem over to your subconscious can be the best strategy of all. By putting the idea on your mental back burner, you allow three beneficial things to happen.

First, you put your problem in perspective. Spend all the time you need to gather the relevant information, then go fishing for a couple of days, and let the ideas percolate their way to the top. Focusing on the problem could be compared to having your nose on the TV screen and seeing only one ‘dot’. But if you can back away from the situation, you’ll see the big picture that results when all the dots—the ideas—come together.

Second, when you work on a problem, you plant a seed in your mind. When you pause, this seed continues to grow. It sends its roots out in your gray matter and makes new connections. Third, when you return to a problem after INKubating, you’ll probably approach it with somewhat different assumptions. Sometimes delaying action—INKubation—will bring you more information. This is food for thought...

I will let prolific writer and renowned speaker Sam Silverstein have the last words on INKubating:

"Have you tapped your mental creativity, or do you choose to allow sameness to limit your opportunities? Creativity is the ability to generate new and innovative answers to questions or solutions to problems that, when implemented, will move you closer to realizing your vision of the future. Creativity is an ability that ALL of us share. The difference between individuals who display creativity and those who don’t is the ability to encourage creative impulses and then take action on creative thoughts. Creative thoughts are only beneficial when evaluated and implemented. By asking questions, exposing yourself to a continuous flow of thoughts and ideas, and allowing this input to incubate, you will find yourself generating your own creative ideas and solutions."

You know, someone said, "A day without laughter is a wasted day." I agree. I also feel that, "A day without a new idea or improvement on an existing one IS a wasted day." Fortunately for me, such a day is rare. And I certainly wish that for you too: days filled with laughter, creativity, and ideas galore—they are the keys to your BUSINESS SUCCESS!

I wish you ALL the business success you desire and deserve. Remember that the success you desire is function of your ambition, but the success you deserve is function of your ACTION!

Daniel G. St-Jean
BizzBooster, and The Sparkplug of Personal Development
Author of 7 Simple Keys To Spark Change In Your Life Now!
Co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – volume 2

Author's Bio: 

Daniel G. St-Jean is half of The BizzBoosters Inc. He and his partner Laurel Simmons have produced a powerful new Special Report entitled Discover How You Can Easily Avoid the Biggest Marketing Mistake
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