Where to Find the Best Ideas and How to Keep Them

Take a break and find a place to chew on it.

Take a break and find a place to chew on it.

A common dream people have at night is of their teeth falling out. While I’ve never had this dream, I’ve heard it can be extremely unnerving.

In the book, What Your Dreams Are Telling You, author Cindy McGill and I explain that this type of dream is often telling the dreamer of his or her need to “chew” on something for a while—to get more information before making an important decision.

I think “chewing” or contemplation is a lost art. But it yields surprising results if we will take the time to “chew on it” and then document what we discover.

I discover the best ideas in two places: in the shower and in conversation with others.

Why the shower? Maybe it’s because I’m alone with minimal distraction and I have a chance to chew on things more deeply than surface observations.

Why in conversation with others? Because I’m usually contemplating details out loud in greater depth and in the process I find myself saying something I haven’t thought of before or with a different spin than I’ve considered.

How about you? Where do you find your best ideas?

This is good to know so when you need new ideas you know where to go. But in reality just about any setting can produce fresh ideas for you if you will chew—contemplate, ponder, meditate, consider more deeply.

When those ideas come, it’s very important to write them down immediately. While I’ve tried to practice this, I still experience those moments when I say to myself in the middle of a burst of creativity, “Oh, I’ll remember this later,” because the thoughts are so clear in that moment. I have yet to capture the same energy and content when I sit down even a few hours later to try to articulate what I was so in the middle of just a few hours before.

No matter where you are, notice when words start flowing through your head and write them down. Don’t think the creativity will come back when you have time.

At a minimum, take a minute and jot down a few notes, or have a digital recorder and record an idea that you can come back to. These notes taken from inspired thoughts will stir creativity when you’re not feeling inspired. You can take the inspiration as your framework and then just fill in the gaps with details.

This is especially important for leaders and communicators (authors, speakers) who have to produce content—sometimes a lot of it—regularly.

Take a few minutes today to “chew” on something—slow down, pause, contemplate, ponder, go deeper. In your car, on a walk, in the shower. Or have a conversation with yourself, with God, or someone you trust about something that’s important to you. And then write down what you hear.

Question: Where and when do you find your best ideas? How do you capture them? Leave your comment below.

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