0:00:03.3 Jacalyn Holsted: Hello, I’m Jacalyn Holsted, and you are listening to On Point Conversations. In this podcast series, we share creative marketing content and branding strategies that help your business successfully navigate the new normal marketing environment.
0:00:32.9 JH: In today’s podcast, I’m going to do the continuation of what I started last week, which was on the idea of steps to producing ideas. Now, the easy part is the process, as far as defining the process, the hard part is the work. So last week I talked about step which was gathering the materials. So, you’re gathering raw materials, not just looking at a website online or looking at a competitor’s website, but you’re looking at various pieces of information, you’re drawing from conversations you might have, relationships that you’ve got, interviews that you’re doing, studies that have been done, you’re drawing all this information together. Now, that’s step one, and we talked about that last week. The next part of this process is going to be a little harder to describe in concrete terms because it goes really on almost entirely in your head.
0:01:35.3 JH: And the reason it does that is because you’re taking these bits and pieces of material, and you’re going through them, you’re going to take the facts, you’re going to turn it this way and that way and look at it at different lights and the meaning, and you bring those facts together and you’re going to see how they fit. What you’re seeking now is a relationship, and so, you’re going to look at all these pieces of information as they come together and combine them, like you would a jigsaw puzzle. You have all these pieces, you might feel a bit overwhelmed, but as you start going through them, you’re going to start seeing relationships and things that happen. What I’d like you to do then is continue that process for a little bit, because what you’re really doing is instead of always looking for the meaning, your kind of listening for the meaning. So, you’re looking at these things, you’re finding out what you did and you’re looking at them to find the real meaning.
0:02:31.5 JH: Now, as you’re going through this process, as you’re going to find, two things will happen, at least they do to me. You’ll have kind of tentative or partial list of ideas that’ll come to you, put those down on paper or on your computer or whatever is easiest to get right away. Write that down, and don’t mind how silly they might sound, how incomplete they are, just get them down. Because that’s the beginning of your real idea and expressing those in words makes the process go forward more quickly. The second thing that will happen is you’ll get kind of tired, because trying to put these pieces together consciously makes you tired, the mind needs that second wind.
0:03:17.1 JH: After this second step with your mental energy in line, and then keep thinking about it, but after a while, when you reach that stage where you’re jumbled and you think I can’t do it anymore, then walk away. Resist the urge at that point in time to try and fit your puzzle together, because now you’re going to take the time to walk away from the process, so that your mind has time to put everything else together and put it into a format that figures out more directly for what you need.
0:03:50.5 JH: In the third step, which we’re going to go to right now or stage 3, you drop the whole subject and you put the problem out of your mind as completely as you can. At this stage, you must let the unconscious mind do its work while you either sleep or you do something else. This stage is where you want to stimulate your unconscious to have that creative process going on. Because now you have all this information that you’ve collected, you’ve gone through that information, you’ve added your thoughts. Maybe some more questions you have that are either answered by the raw material you already have or maybe you need to collect later. I don’t know, I’m a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I don’t know if you are, but there are other people like this. But he used to stop in the middle of his case, and he’d take Watson off to a concert. Now, that was irritating to Watson, if you remember that movie because Watson was more literal-minded. But the creator of that Sherlock Holmes knew the creative process.
0:05:03.2 JH: Abraham Lincoln did the same thing, when he was going through a very difficult stage, or he had to make some decisions, which he made huge decisions, he would go to a play. Abraham Lincoln was known for going to lots of plays. When you reach this third step or stage, drop the problem completely and just do whatever stimulates your imagination and emotions, listen to music, go to a play, go to a movie, talk to friends because in this stage, you’ve gathered all that food for thought together. You’re now putting it together and you’re going to let it alone, and you’re going to see how it stimulates your unconscious to think of new things. If you’ve been doing these stages as we have been talking about, you might find that that idea appears to you in a very different place. You’re not necessarily at your desk, you might be shaving or bathing or out for running, or you might have it happen in the middle of the night, or when you wake up in the morning. That’s why I stress it, having paper and pencil next to you, or whatever you use to write with, to jot those things down is important, so you capture them at the time.
0:06:12.5 JH: I find that’s the way ideas come to you, because after you’ve stopped straining on those ideas and you’ve given yourself some time to rest and relaxation, then the mind takes that and is still moving it around. Isn’t it interesting? I’ll be putting together a podcast on a certain subject, I’ll have started it, but maybe I haven’t completed it, and then I see all these things related to this podcast. I might see some research that was related to the podcast. I might be talking to somebody, and they mention something and it’s because my mind is working in that area that I’m able to connect with that and able to use that information.
0:06:47.0 JH: You might remember the story from your high school or grade school days of Sir Isaac Newton and the discovery of the Law of Gravitation. He was asked by a lady, this famous scientist was asked by a lady how he came up with the idea and discovery and he said, “By constantly thinking about it.” But my thought is he didn’t constantly think about it, what he did was he thought about it, but he also used a discovery process of moving away from it to allow himself to think more broadly about it. The final stage of this process taking your newborn idea out into the world of reality, and when you’re doing this, you might find that this marvelous, beautiful little newborn is not perceived in the precious way you perceive it. So, when you’re taking out your idea, you’re knowing that this idea is going to get under scrutiny, there’s going to be some criticism, but be prepared, because a really good idea and expansion of idea really takes a great deal of patience, working over that idea in practical circumstances and in exact conditions.
0:07:55.2 JH: And here’s where unfortunately good ideas are lost, because the person who has the idea, the inventor, is often not patient or practical enough to go through this whole adaption process. Don’t make the mistake of holding that idea really close to your chest at this stage, because you want to submit it out and fortunately the criticism and the judiciousness of the criticism and whatever you hear will really do a surprising thing, and that you will find that that good idea becomes even better, because now you’re expanding the qualities of that idea. It stimulates those who see it, and then also the possibilities become even bigger and there’s more of a light shine on it. So that’s the process, it’s easy to talk about, but you’ll see where the hard work comes, and great ideas are worth a lot of hard work.
0:08:44.2 JH: Let’s review the whole process. Step one, you’re gathering raw materials, both the materials for your immediate problem and then materials which are going to come out of your research and the constant enrichment of what you’re doing. Second, is you’re working over those materials in your mind and you’re reading through them, and you’re taking notes, you’re figuring out where the questions are, you’re adding your thoughts to that. And then the third is really what I call the incubation period, and it needs an incubation period where you let something besides the conscious mind do the work of putting together all these ideas and all this information. And then the fourth is the actual birth of the idea, “Yahoo! I have it,” that stage. And the fifth is going to be the final shaping and development of the idea to practical usefulness. So don’t give up. Remember, you’re taking us from the initial stage all the way to the really, hot good idea.
0:09:41.5 JH: As you listen to the first podcast, I did on this and now the second podcast, I want to really emphasize how important that gathering of materials is in that kind of what I would call an idea producing reservoir. Practice doing that. Expand your horizons. You didn’t stop learning because you ended up with your education being done and expand your knowledge in all different kinds of areas, open yourself up, use that growth mindset that we talked about in the last podcast. And really open yourself up, whether it’s to… Now that we’re opening from COVID, travel or going in on Zoom meetings and things that you wouldn’t really consider your topic, but expand yourself, because the more you expand yourself, the more gratifying this process is and the more information that you can gather and the more ideas that you can come up with.
0:10:35.3 JH: And my last thought on this, I want to make one other point, because I am a content developer and writer, and believe strongly in content that there’s sometimes a tendency to forget that words are themselves are part of the idea because ideas are expressed in words. So, as you think about the types of words, you’re using to express your idea and how you’re expressing it, semantics, those become important to the development and the presentation of your idea.
0:11:02.1 JH: I hope this was something helpful to you today. If you want to learn more about me or have something you want to add or questions, my website is onpointthinking.com. You can go to the contact page, put in a question, I look at those, I answer those, and I look at what kinds of things my readers and my listeners are interested in. I look forward to hearing from you and I just hope you have a great day.
0:11:33.0 JH: Thank you for listening, and I invite you to join me next week as we talk more about specific actions you can take to reach your own business goals. You can find my library of other inspiring podcasts like this one at onpointthinking.com. Again, thank you for listening, this is Jacalyn Holsted at On Point Conversations.