Becoming an Idea Machine

One habit that I tracked for a month was becoming an “idea machine” coined by James Altrucher. What’s that?

An idea machine is the skill to consistetly come up with a certain number of ideas for a topic. The ideas don’t have to be good. But they have to be many. I did ten ideas each day for a theme topic. For example, “what are ten topics I can write about?”, “what are good date venues in Boston?”, and “how can I support my friend who’s having a rough time?”. Each day, I came up with a topic, and ten ideas for it.

Often, it’s easy to come up with 1, 2, or even 5 ideas. But around 6 or 7 it becomes progressively harder to even come up with a few more bad ideas.

Why do this?

For one thing, it’s a super power when you can come up with a large collection of ideas for any problem or project. Typically, the first or second idea you have on anything isn’t going to be the right one. But, if you have ten? Then one of them is worth pursuing.

Second, it breaks the deep pattern everyone has that ideas are somehow precious and thereby should be secrets.

Ideas are not precious.

Your million dollar idea is not precious.

Many people tell me they have this great idea for a business and they swear me to secrecy before telling me. But, I know with high certainty those very people won’t likely succeed. Because successful people know that ideas are just the starting point. It’s the effort and action that matters. You want feedback from people on your ideas to make them better, not to hold them and protect them from honest, helpful criticism.

Once you’re able to generate dozens of new ideas every day, you realize that you don’t have to hoard your idea secrets. You can share them freely and help others with your ideas. Because you have more ideas then you can possibly actually act on.

And then everyone benefits because you gave the gift of ideas to others, and they were able to actualize your ideas.

A hat tip to James Altrucher who talks often about the idea muscle and where I originally got this idea from.

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