We call people who produce highly creative work for the benefit of mankind geniuses, yet geniuses are simply those who have learned more efficient ways of using their minds. In this chapter we will take a look at three specific strategies that geniuses apply to achieve their goals faster: note taking, flexibility and creativity.
The habit of compulsive scribbling has long been regarded as one of the hallmarks of genius. Less than 1% of the population habitually record their ideas, thoughts, experiences and perceptions in journals and notebooks, yet the world’s top achievers nearly all seem to fall within that critical 1%. In a study of hundreds of geniuses, it was found that they all shared the habit of recording thoughts and ideas in writing, starting from an early age. They did not start keeping notebooks because they assumed they would someday be famous. It was the scribbling itself that unconsciously nourished and activated a superior intellect.
Get a portable memory bank such as a notepad, pocket recorder or smart phone. Carry it with you everywhere you go and use it regularly to record your thoughts and ideas. It will build you halfway to full genius almost without effort. We get ideas everyday on how to improve our lives, but because we do not use them they are soon forgotten. Each time you respond to an idea by sharing it, acting upon it or writing it down, you reinforce the behavior of being creative. You will soon notice a sharp increase in the number and quality of creative thoughts and interesting perceptions that flow into your mind. Before you get too many notes, start to organize them into categories. Review these categories often for things you may have forgotten or ideas you have stopped applying.
All geniuses have open minds. They remain teachable, curious, adaptive and willing to consider any possibilities. To develop the quality of flexibility you need to become open to new ideas. You need to be willing to change, to try out new things and to challenge limiting beliefs. You should always be willing to let go of your old ideas just as fast as somebody else can prove that there are newer and better ideas available.
A simple way to tell how open and flexible you are is by looking at how willing you have been up to now to try out the ideas and techniques presented in this book. A highly flexible person will not argue with or reject an idea to improve their life, but instead try it out for themselves and judge its value by their own results. They are willing to try almost anything once. However, for most people there is a huge gap between what they know and what they do. If you feel you may be lacking in flexibility, you can make a commitment right now that each time you come across an interesting new idea you will try it out in your own life.
Creativity implies solving problems by creating original and useful ideas, often by combining old ideas into new contexts. It could also be said that it is simply a way of improving upon the existing way of doing things. We are all naturally creative, but our creative minds work best when we are motivated, but still very relaxed. The more calm you are the better quantity and quality of unique ideas you will come up with. Just as importantly, the greater your knowledge is about a subject, the greater are the ideas you can create in that subject. If you begin to tax your creativity you will quickly start to become more creative.
One of the best methods to harness our creativity is through brainstorming. To begin brainstorming, you write down your current problem or goal on a page in the form of a question. The more specific the question is the better your mind can focus on it and the better quality of answers you will generate. Some example questions could be: How can I improve my health, time management or income today? Then, start writing out answers and stay at it until you have at least 20 of them. Try to make every answer as concrete as possible, while letting your mind flow freely. The answers are limited only by your imagination. You will probably start off with simple answers, but after the first few it will get tougher and tougher to find something new to write. When you are done finding 20 answers, select at least one solution to implement immediately. Often, the last few answers will be most valuable. The best time to brainstorm is first thing in the morning, because this will get you thinking creatively all day long. Using this technique frequently will give you so many valuable ideas that you may not even have time to try them all.
- Become a collector of good ideas and review them often.
- Remain flexible by always being open to new ideas.
- Improve your creativity through brainstorming.
Tony Alessandra - Secrets of Ten Great Geniuses (audio)
Handbook of Success