The Idea Quota Exercise is a challenge for you to work on and achieve. Be specific in what your goals are and the timeline you have to follow. If you are a writer and is planning to write a book (or not), set a quota of say, three chapters a week. If you are a photographer, aim for a shoot a week. If you are a travel junkie, aim to travel twelve times a year. If you do pottery, set a goal of producing pottery every two months. If you are a singer, make sure you sing at least three to four times a week. If you wish to be a blogger, you blog at least every other day.
If I tell you there are fifty words here, you will find it. And maybe more.
It’s like setting up a pattern for yourself to follow….and for others to familiarize you with. When you say you’re a professor, people will assume you are teaching. If you say you are a photographer, they will ask how long have you been taking photos and how often. A regular pattern of you doing what you are supposed to be doing also builds confidence and credibility <— but that’s another topic to tackle.
Now, where was I?
One idea, no matter how silly, will give birth to other ideas and so on and so forth. This exercise of setting an idea quota is a practice to stretch your mind. It’s like a word game. You are told that in the puzzle there are fifty words to find, your mind will look for it until it’s found. The mind has been told of a specific goal and it will work to achieve that goal. If you have set your mind to become a major loser by telling it that it will fail in everything it will do…most likely, it will fail because that’s what it is aiming at. That’s the goal you directed it to. That’s why it is necessary to identify your creative pattern first.
Set a specific quota and oblige yourself to follow it.
The first five ones will be difficult. You may start feeling no connection to whatsoever that you are doing. For example, you’ve decided to get a career in event organizing. If you wish to come up with good events, will yourself to produce unique concepts of events every two weeks. The first event that comes to mind will always be the ones you have experienced and seen. Remember them. Jot them down. That is the first step to becoming a good event organizer. Then write the parties that you want to attend but have not had the opportunity. Write why you like them. Combine. Write the things you appreciate in the parties you have attended and add details you wish were there to make it cooler. Start with the music, then the ambiance, what kind of food? how about parties where you can sing on the stage if you want to? how about parties where all who attend gets to ramp like a fashion model? Jot them all down, no matter how far-fetched. then arrange them. and then read them again. The more ideas you generate, the more chances you are to come up with something unique.
Thomas Edison set a quota of minor inventions every ten days and major inventions every six months. He exercised his mind and his workers’. He holds a record of 1,093 patents.
Forcing yourself to achieve your quota will help your mind work and will push your body to engage. A working mind will generate ideas. The first ideas will always be about the obvious, as they are the ideas that your mind are so familiar with. The better ideas come when you are have exhausted the obvious and you are forced to think beyond what you are familiar with.
How can you think beyond what you know?
One word. Research.
The irony in coming up with original ideas, is that you have to be familiar with other ideas first.
You want to blog about fashion? For God’s sake, research about other fashion bloggers. What makes them so great. What things do they do that interest people. What are the things they are doing that you don’t think is ok. What type of conversation they engage their readers. What topics do they love to talk about. What is lacking in their articles. What designers do they rave about? Check their fashion sense. Is it similar with yours? Study them. Imitate. Innovate. Add some, deduct a little, and perfect yourself by learning through their mistakes.
There are so many things to learn in the world. And genius requires rigid learning.
Go through the motions of the role you wish to become.
Research doesn’t only mean scouring information in books and online portals. You have to learn by acting it as well. For example, if you want to be an artist, go through the motions of being an artist. Take art classes and or workshops, go to galleries and look at other works of art. Engage in artistic conversation. Learn from the discussions of other artists. Find a mentor to teach you what good art is. Start to imitate until you find your signature. Be a your own test case. Mimic until you understand what a true artist really means. They say artists are crazy, then act crazy for once and see if you like it. You may not become the next Leonardo da Vinci but you will, at least, become more adequate than the one who neither has the intention nor practice. If you act like it, you will eventually become it.
There is no definite way to know how far your intentions and actions will take you. If you come to think of it, our world offers no guarantees in our lives— only opportunities to play with. Reaching for the sun, doesn’t necessarily mean you can steal it from the sky, but you won’t end up with mud in your hands either.
When you have influenced your mind that it is creative it will start to behave creatively.
If you expect it to produce great ideas, it will work towards it because once you have believed yourself to be creative, that you are someone who can do better than what you are doing in the present, you will begin to see the value in your ideas. Eventually, as you learn more everyday, you will develop the persistence to implement them.
So get busy.