Unlocking your ideas

This article will give you three simple suggestions to improve your divergent thinking.

I usually have about one good idea per day, five ideas per day that are a waste of time, and about 19 ideas per day that are just complete sh*t.

I consider myself a geek, and I embrace it. 25 ideas per day will nauseate anyone, I thank god for a set of tolerant colleagues, business partners, and my girlfriend who hears every of the 25 ideas per day each in their earliest of beta versions.

About 2010, I started to track my ideas, where and when did I arrive at them. After about 12 months I realized that my ideas came to me at airports, or on airplanes.

I was perplexed, everything I had read prior told me that others got their best ideas in the morning, and usually in the bathroom.

So I investigated why I didn’t have good ideas in the morning, and it turned out to be really simple. As soon as I wake up, I reach for the cellphone and look at my texts, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter (in that order). Invariably something on one of those channels “sets my day off” and just like that BOOM, I am off to my day and have missed the precious morning moments where my subconscious has been working feverishly all night to plant good ideas/thoughts into my conscious.

Suggestion One – Do not look at your cell phone until you come out of the shower.

So I solved for the morning problem, and it was on a morning that I founded TheHumanAPI.com – bingo! Luckily I still had what I called “airport ideas” and I knew why this was the case. At airports, I was isolated with no Wifi, and I was afraid my phone battery would die (because I am a minimalist of a traveler, I hate to carry around chargers while traveling) so I got the opportunity at airports and on airplanes to take that pregnant subconscious pause that allowed me to cognitively unplug, and find the divergent synapses.

10 of the 12 chapters of my upcoming book were started in seat 11A of a United Airlines flight in midair. Recently however, I have been coming up empty on flights, and at airports. One reason is I bought a Mophie charger for my iPhone 5 so I can be on the phone during “airport time” (and I set a tone with my friends to not send me group texts which as you know can drain 25% of your batteries recapping last nights Miami HEAT's win) – airports also now have tons of charging stations, there were not there and so my cellphone has penetrated my "airport time" – but the reason and more pronounced reason I no longer get “airport ideas” is because I started buying Wifi on the actual airplane rides. I don’t have to type more, you get it.

Suggestion Two – stop purchasing the Wifi on airplane rides.

The third place that I got really good ideas was at conferences. Yes, I use to be one of those folks that sat in on every session there was at a conference. Geek, no question.

Recently I am noticing a trend (and I am very guilty of this). When we attend conferences, most of us are on phone calls in the hotel lobby or in our hotel rooms, hanging out in the hallways of the conference area, or there only for the day that we are speaking.

Without a doubt, there are so many trade conferences these days, most are between 150 and 250 attendees of which 50 are vendors, 50 are speakers and no one is actually in the rooms listening. The conferences happen, the sessions go on, but no one attends the sessions.

Again, I found myself spending time in my room or in the lobby on phone calls, missing … the most brilliant part of the conference, other experts speaking!

No wonder I come up empty after conferences.

Suggestion Three – attend all of the sessions at conferences.

I write as a labor of love, in exchange I ask that you share this writing if you think others may find value,


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