The Power of Brainstorming and Combining Mind
Let’s talk about brainstorming today. It’s our favorite technique to use whenever a problem has us stumped, we don’t know what to do next, we feel overwhelmed, or we encounter some sort of roadblock. You can brainstorm by yourself, with a partner, or in a group.
To brainstorm, you simply throw out any and all ideas that pop into your head. Don’t judge, don’t edit yourself, just get it all out there. While a lot of what you come up with is utterly useless, it helps you refine ideas and start thinking creatively. The fact that much of what comes out of a brainstorming session won’t be used doesn’t matter because the few ideas that do work are well worth the time and effort spent.
When you’re brainstorming by yourself, it’s helpful to write down your ideas.
You can brainstorm with a pen and notebook, use a word document on your computer, or other tools like mind-mapping software for example. The most important thing is that you have a way to record your ideas and then go back and organize them later.
When you’re brainstorming in a group, writing things down isn’t always necessary, but it can be helpful to have a few notes written down on a notepad, a shared digital document, or a whiteboard.
The reason brainstorming works so well is because it allows you to quickly tap into your creative thinking. We have to go past all the obvious answers before you can start to look at a problem with fresh eyes and from a different angle.
A lot of different ideas will come up in a good brainstorming session. Often something small will spark another idea and another. This is when you’re really starting to tap into the creative thinking part of your brain. It’s also why it’s important not to judge or discount thoughts in a brainstorming session. Get it out there and put it on paper. You never know what will spark the one idea that will turn out to be the perfect solution.
When you’re brainstorming by yourself, it’s OK to take your time. Get the first flow of ideas out there and then walk away. Come back a little later with fresh eyes and see what you can add. If you’re brainstorming in a group, it’s important not to judge or ridicule. Don’t dismiss an idea, no matter what. It doesn’t matter that you know this won’t work. What’s important is to get the thought out there and allow it to inspire the other members of your team.
The Power of Combining Minds
We have some mind math for you. When it comes to working together, and particularly when it comes to creative thinking, mind math works like this:
1 + 1 = 3 (or more)
While this may look like we should have failed 1st-grade math (we didn’t … just to make that clear), it will make sense in a minute. The basic idea is that when you get two minds together, the end result is more than just the combination of the two.
Chances are you’ve already experienced this yourself. You get together with a friend or colleague and start brainstorming. Each of you brings a unique set of skills and ideas to the table. But when you combine them, you come up with even more than if you had sat down separately to brainstorm a list of ideas and then combined the list.
You bounce ideas off each other and something one of you suggests sparks an idea in the other one. You keep bouncing back and forth and come up with all kinds of great thoughts and ideas that never would have seen the light of day if you hadn’t put your heads together.
In short, when you collaborate, you are not only working with your mind, and that of the other person, but you also create a virtual third mind of sorts that’s a combination of the two of you working together. That is where the most creative thinking will happen.
It doesn’t stop at creative thinking.
There’s also a lot of power in combining minds when it comes to positive thinking. Positive thoughts can be quite contagious. We’re sure you’ve experienced this as well. You can’t help but be in a better mood and start thinking positively when you’re around an optimist.
On the flip side, it can be tough to be upbeat and positive by yourself. It’s much easier in a crowd of like-minded people. Think about how you can surround yourself with more positive and creative thinkers, and you will start to become better and better at coming up with creative solutions.
You don’t have to do it all alone and in isolation. Quite the opposite is true. You’ll do better and make progress faster in all areas of your life when you surround yourself with people who have the same goals and ideas. It works even better when you can find people who are slightly ahead of you. Of course, a mix will also work well.
This is one of the big reasons why mastermind groups or study groups are so helpful whether at work, in business, or at school. Getting together with others and combining minds is a very powerful thing and something we should strive to do more often.
Don’t leave great, market-changing ideas on the drawing board. Make sure they get nurtured and supported so they can take off.
You don’t want to look back and say, “we could of, would of, should of.” Procrastination does not grow anything; action does.
There are a lot of different ways to brainstorm. We use Trello that helps us to categorize and reorder our ideas.
Regardless of the tools, brainstorming is an awesome step in the creative process. It allows ideas to form outside your mind. Brainstorming gives birth to order and clarity. It takes things beyond the early abstract state.
If nothing else, brainstorming gets you past the “blank page.” It’s OK to start with almost nothing. Brainstorming is easy to do and can help almost any creative effort to get off the ground.