How to Find Great Ideas Today

Posted by:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (now, for example): good ideas are everywhere. The problem is that most of us don’t know how to look for them. We don’t see them, because many times good ideas come disguised as something else. Sometimes we have to work a little to see the application to our own lives and businesses. We have to teach our brains to recognize the good ideas that are around us all the time. Here’s one way you can do that—and you can start today!

For one day (today, for example), I want you to write down three things that happen during the day. They could be any three things. Something that happened to you, something you experienced, something you read about in the news. Any three things. Just yesterday, for example, I:

  1. went to a rock concert
  2. saw a guy walking a dog
  3. watched a UPS airplane land at the local airport

Yes, yes, now you’re all jealous because of the exciting life I lead. Get over it. My point is that I want you, for one day, to pick three things at random that are in some way a part of your world. And now I want you to ask yourself this question for each of your three events:

What lesson can I take from this that will positively affect my business?

And the remarkable thing is that if you really take the time to look for it, you’ll find the lesson (in fact, you’ll probably find several). Here are just a few ways the three things I noticed yesterday can positively affect my business, which is professional speaking:

  1. Rock concert: I noticed how the lead singer used the entire stage. He didn’t just stand in one spot for every song. I can use this when I’m on stage speaking to an audience. I also noticed how the band was able to bring variety into their set (a few fast songs, then a slow one, then another fast one, etc.) without diminishing the energy. They played the slow songs with the same intensity as the fast songs. This is a great lesson for a professional speaker: you can vary the dynamics of your presentation without diminishing the energy.
  2. Dog walker: This guy (or somebody in his family) has to walk that dog every day, whether they want to or not. The dog isn’t going to stop functioning just because somebody is too tired to walk it. So not walking the dog is not an option. This is a good lesson for me in my business: there are some things that I simply have to do every day, whether I want to or not. Some days I don’t feel like writing. Yeah, well there are some days that guy probably doesn’t feel like walking his dog. (Another lesson is that, in business, we all have to clean up somebody else’s mess every now and then. Just do it and move on. This is, perhaps, not the most pleasant lesson. It’s maybe even a bit of a stretch. (You: “Maybe? A bit?”) The point, though, is to force yourself to find lessons where they may not be apparent.)
  3. UPS plane: I’m a pilot myself, so I know that a successful landing is, to a large degree, a function of following well thought out checklists. Nothing is left to chance or memory. Seeing that plane landing gave me an idea for incorporating some checklists into my business. I already have a checklist for packing before a presentation, but I’ve now identified three other areas where using a checklist can save me time and aggravation.

There are certainly other lessons I could find in these events—and these were just three random things I happened to pick. I could have chosen from any of a hundred more (I told you, I lead an exciting life). And so can you.

So take some time today and write down three things. Then look for the lessons. I promise you, they’ll be there.

Good ideas are everywhere. The problem is that most of us don't know how to look for them. Click To Tweet

About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
  Related Posts