During the holidays I read “Choose Yourself” by James Altucher, who I highly recommend you follow on twitter, @jaltucher and his blog @ jamesaltucher.com. One piece of advice he gives readers is to commit to writing down 10 ideas everyday. They can literally be about anything.
Some of my best ideas were
- Improve my chances of wife agreeing to sex by shaving my beard.
- Have my four year old son shovel snow for 2 hrs so goes to bed super early.
- Move my alarm clock to other side of the room so I don’t hit snooze.
- Keep an empty bottle of klonopin in my car so if I get pulled over for speeding I can tell the cop I needed to get a refill ASAP or bad shit might go down.
You get the idea, no pun intended.
The idea is to work the “idea” muscle. Much like other muscles if they go unused they atrophy.
In just a few short weeks I’m amazed as to how many ideas just pop into my head without even trying. I’ve primed the muscle to a point where consciously and unconsciously my mind is always scanning the landscape of opportunities for ideas in any situation. The law of numbers says a few are bound to be winners.
Today I was not coming up with any worthwhile ideas(I know I said they could be about anything but when you have OCD they must be perfect ideas). Instead of hemming and hawing I had an idea. Go figure.
I decided the header for today’s idea exercising writing workout would be, to come up with 10 ideas to make the world a better place. I put a time limit on this to just 5 minutes and they had to be the first 1o that popped into my head with no consideration as to how lame they might be(putting time constraints on yourself is a great way to battle OCD’s addiction to making everything perfect).
So, in no particular order here is what I came up with
- Everyone must donate $1 each day to charity.
- Wear name tags (I got this from the Seinfeld episode where Kramer wanted everyone in Jerry’s building to wear name tags).
- Spend time with kids (I learn more from my 4 year old son then I do from anyone else).
- Read something spiritual everyday. This can be about God, Nature, the Universe, Buddha. It’s not a religious or non religious thing.
- Pick one person each day and do something to make them smile.
- Spend time with someone who is dying. You get to do something for someone else but also get reminded of a great lesson. Life is short and it will come to an end.
- Hugs instead of handshakes. Get over yourself and just become a huggie mofo!
- When someone is less than kind to you immediately imagine a struggle or adversity they could be facing. This could save you from doing or saying something you might regret.
- Tell someone everyday how they have made your life better. This could be a simple as telling the barista at Starbucks how the delicious latte they made lifted your spirits.
- Last but not least. Elevator music should be either The Rolling Stones or Pearl Jam!
I’m sure with more time and thought I could come up with 10 much better ideas, but again, not the point of this exercise.
What are your 10? Don’t overthink it. The idea is not to solve the world problems but exercise your idea muscle in way that happens to be productive.