“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
One of the daily practices that has enriched my life and convinced me that I am an endlessly creative machine is the ’20 Ideas’ ritual. It is something that still excites me, and I love it so much I can’t wait to sit down and do it – on the train, at my desk, at a coffee shop and sometimes even in bed just before I go to sleep at night.
It’s a simple idea, and one which I first heard listening to one of Brian Tracy’s audio programs. Much to my shame, I can no longer remember which one, and it is one of my projects to re-listen to them so that I might be able to reference it more properly.
It is also an idea that had popped up again more recently in a book by Claudia Altucher called Become an Idea Machine – one to check out. Writing out ideas harnesses the power of intention – we make solutions seem possible, and remind ourselves of our own incredible resourcefulness. And we provide ourselves with physical evidence.
So, now to explain this radical method and how it works. Prepare yourself to take copious notes as I expound on it in intricate detail. Here it us:
Sit down at some point, every day, and write down 20 ideas about a subject that is worrying you.
Or anything at all.
20 numbered points, one beneath the other.
Then go and get a cup of coffee or listen to an old Chantoozies song. Your work is done for the day.
I do it every day. Beginning a project, in the middle of a project or deep in the detail of trying to make a project work. I simply sit down and think of a problem or challenge or event that is happening in my life. And then I think: “What are 20 things I could about this, 20 ways I could approach it, 20 ways to make it happen?
And then I list them. The thing is, it needs to be 20. The first 4 or so are easy. The next 5 get harder, and the last few are impossible and you start writing down crazy stuff, or consulting other resources. And that’s where the magic happens. You must make yourself write down 20 possibilities, no matter how ridiculous. Interesting things can often crop up right at the end.
Now don’t get stressed. This is not a “To Do” list. You don’t have to do anything with any of the ideas. They are there to prove a point – the point that you are an inventive, resourceful person who has a practical response to anything. And sometimes we need that proof.
Let me give you a practical example, using a real-life situation and an actual list.
Topic: I want to sell more copies of my Destination Cambodia ebook
1. Do a blog tour
2. Do some Facebook ads
3. Do some more talks about Cambodia around the place
4. Get people to review the ebook on Amazon
5. Pay some attention to my Amazon author page to see if I can attract more readers
6. Do a blog series on Cambodian topic with this as the call to action
7. Review some more Cambodia-related books
8. Take a new trip to Cambodia to give me some more material to write articles etc. and so remind people about the book
9. Host a travel-writing workshop at the local Cambodian temple
10. Lead a Cambodian-themed food tour through Cabramatta
11. Teach my Cambodian history course again at adult education places
12. Do my talk about Angkor Wat at some more places
13. Do some more library events
[OK – these all came easily. But right here I was officially stumped. So this is when I draw upon my resources – either start dreaming or look up some ideas online or in my own notes]
14. Lead a tour to Cambodia [having already failed to get one of these tours up it is a painful and quixiotic idea, but it is still an option and still something I’d like to do].
15. Get some ideas for promotion from Success magazine [this from a master list I keep of things that I have done before to promote things. Success magazine is a great resource for ideas, which is why I have subscribed for years].
16. Publish some Cambodia-related pieces on Linkedin [from Fauzia Burke’s blog post 7 Great ways to Promote Your Ebook, which I just Googled].
17. Do some promoted posts on my Facebook Fan Page. [I’ve never actually done this before, and have no idea if it would work, but I am here to try new ideas, right?].
18. Send a special reminder to my email list [from Denise Wakeman’s blog post 19 Ways to Promote Your Ebook, which I just discovered online. I normally don’t send such sales-ey emails, using my enewsletter to promote events, blog posts and interesting things I have discovered. I am sure my list would forgive one such].
19. Use Canva to create some really eye-catching images for Google+ with a link in the description. [OK, I know Google+ is pretty much a spent force, but the people left on there seem really committed, and I know for a fact that most of them have never bought my book. Some might not even be aware of what I write about. This could result in a couple of sales].
20. Create a list of friends, fans and supporters and approach each of them individually and ask if they would send out an email or social media message on my behalf [this from a blog post on okdork.com called How to get an eBook to #1 on Amazon. I sometimes do ask friends to help spread the word, but I have never compiled a proper list as this writer suggests doing. This has worked quiet well for me in the past, and I have also recently been approached by someone to do just this, which I was more than happy to do. Some people like being asked to help].
So there you have it. 20 rather good ideas that I am actually going to take the next step with and turn into a real Campaign. But maybe more on that process in another blog post.