For this one, I liberally borrowed from some really good content and I’m just going to share that up front:

Austin Kleon: Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work
James Altucher: Choose Yourself
Clayton M. Christensen: The Innovator’s Dilemma

“The man who has no imagination, has no wings” – Muhammad Ali

Innovation and creating new things is scary… you must learn to embrace uncertainty. The biggest mistake you can make is being too attached to that which has worked for you in the past. Sophomore albums usually aren’t near as good as the first because the thinking is that you did something so good the first time, why change it. However if you continually tweak you won’t get boxed in and will have more longevity. You must be ever curious and always experimenting. Dedicate specific time to coming up with ideas:

  • Live out of your imagination, not your memory
  • Come up with 10 ideas every single day. if you come up with one really good one, then come up with 10 ways to execute on that idea right away… don’t waste time
  • Focus on ideas that are 10X better than existing solutions
  • Focus on one idea every day that is a “force multiplier” (one thing that if you did it would make all other things after it much easier)
  • Always be thinking of next steps
  • “Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Do all you can to stay out of the mode of competition… this will only frustrate you and has meager rewards… look for the blue ocean. If you are having a hard time generating ideas:

  • Get inspired by other forms of art (music, movies, plays, books, museums, nature itself: sunsets, waves, clouds, stars, birds)
  • Put yourself in the path of other human beings
  • Stand next to the most talented person in the room and try to be helpful
  • Spark “idea sex “ (James Altucher): Mesh two ideas together (two different disciplines works good… electrical + medical, software + hardware, etc)
  • Copy, copy, copy what you love… then you will find your voice. “Stealing from one is plagiarism, stealing from many is research”; –Wilson Mizner
  • Take time and be bored. Staring at a spot on the wall, get lost, wonder & wander
  • Invent not for where the world is today, but for where it is going to be. Like Wayne Gretzky says, “skate not to where the puck is, but to where it is going to be”

Move forward with ideas by:

  • Doing some work every day, no matter what. Little things accumulate quickly with consistency of acting
  • Focus on magical ideas for a small niche of people, not average ideas for the masses
  • Don’t do what you know, do what excites you
  • “Fake it until you make it”… it works
  • Ideas should come first, then specialized knowledge… Napoleon Hill
  • Not waiting for better tools/technology to come along… make due with what you have at your disposal
  • Wake up every day striving to do something that just might not work

“First you give life, action, and guidance to ideas, then they take on the power of their own and sweep aside all opposition… ideas have the power to live on, after the brain that crafted them has returned to dust” -Napoleon Hill

How do you know if you are succeeding. Good question. Here are a few simple formulas:

  • If you are running a business, calculate the number of customers using products that didn’t exist three years ago and the percentage of revenue coming from those products…decide what is good or bad, but at least you now have a way to measure
  • Another good measure is one half of your audience loves it or agrees with you and the other half he’s disagrees… if everybody agrees, why bother?
  • Learn –> Create, Learn –> Create, Learn –> Create. Just learning and never creating or just creating and never learning never creates new works

Most importantly of all… enjoy the process as much (or more) than the destination as sometimes the journey is the answer. I love this graphic by Austin Kleon…

Austin Kleon



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