It seems like a completely hopeless situation. We don’t like the job. We have issues with our partner, parents, and friends. We feel like our spiritual practice is tapping in a single place. When we try to figure out where we’re going, we don’t have a consistent goal for our future. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there for three whole years, to be precise.
Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t being a passive observer of my own life. I did make efforts to make a change. I signed up for a more advanced yoga class, I was reading good books every single day… still, something was missing. Learning. Studying. Intellectual progress. I figured that out during a meditation, and it was one of the most amazing revelations in my life.
I started writing essays, hoping to write a great book after I practice enough. I turned for help in writing practice to Essay Geeks, where I got new interesting ideas. But it was still not enough for me to learn how to concentrate. The lack of consistent learning was the culprit for the stagnation in my professional and spiritual life. As it often happens, when we’re not happy with certain areas of our lives, our friendships and relationships suffer, too.
That’s when I started a new journey in my life: online learning. It was time for higher intellectual achievements. It was time to give my inner genius a chance to wake up. The first course was a disappointment, to say the least. I didn’t have enough time for it, with my job, relationship and all. That’s the trick: I only thought there was not enough time. I lacked a strategy. There was a particular technique that turned me into a faster, more productive, and more focused student: brainstorming. It’s a great way to set a direction for long-term and short-term goals. I used that technique when visualizing the future I wanted, but I also relied on it whenever I needed a head start on an academic project.
What’s proper brainstorming, anyway? How can we pounder in the depths of our minds to extract the best ideas out?
Brainstorming is usually related to teamwork. Many organizations arrange meetings, where they expect their employees to start brainstorming out of the blue. That’s not the most effective way to brainstorm. Before we go and present our ideas, we need to process them.
I’ve been part of such brainstorming sessions at work. As it usually occurs, people hold back their ideas. No one wants to be the first one to speak up. If one or two people are contributing, the rest of us don’t feel the need to participate. Who likes their ideas being critiqued?
Individual brainstorming sessions are way more effective. There’s no need for us to be ashamed of our ideas. We can write all of them down, no matter how silly they seem at first. As we continue digging through our ideas, we’ll discover the good ones, eventually.
I usually do brief meditations before engaging in a brainstorming session. That’s the kind of time alone we all need.
We don’t want our bosses or colleagues to judge our genuine ideas. When we turn brainstorming into an intimate process, who’s judging our ideas? Usually, it’s us. But, we need to steer away from that attitude. It’s important for us to remember that no one will see that note. No one will judge it. We should just enjoy our time alone and explore our thoughts with complete honesty. In brainstorming, we discover quality through quantity.
The so-called Medici Effect is an important aspect of brainstorming. When we set a brainstorming topic and let ourselves explore it, our mind makes connections with other concepts, niches, cultures, and disciplines. That’s how we discover our inner genius—the person who can think of groundbreaking ideas that have never been explored before.
The only way for us to achieve such an effect through brainstorming is to give each idea a chance. No matter how disconnected they seem, we should just write them down and see what comes out of them.
Of course we should give every idea a chance, but we still need to be focused. We don’t want to start thinking about our relationship when we’re brainstorming for a coursework assignment, right? Before each brainstorming session, I tend to set specific goals.
What are we focused on? What results do we need to achieve? When we set achievable goals, it’s easier for us to start generating on-topic ideas. SMART goal is not just a random term. This is what a SMART goal is:
I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that brainstorming was purely for listing boring information stuffed in my mind. That’s what I was doing during college. When learning got a new dimension of personal growth, my attitude towards brainstorming shifted, too. I started seeing it as a fun activity that allowed me to experiment.
We can turn any brainstorming session into an intriguing visual project. All we need is scratch paper, post-its, and a blank wall, board or fridge. Or, we can use an online tool like Bubbl.us to create a graphical representation of our ideas.
The visual aspect is crucial for retainment of information. If we just write down random ideas, we might forget what they meant for us when we take a look at that list later on. The visual elements will create associations, so we’ll remember the feeling related to a particular idea when we evaluate that list.
We’re always inspired to learn more. All of us. Learning is an essential element of personal, professional, and spiritual growth. However, it’s easy to suffocate that wish with all daily responsibilities and expectations we have to meet. From time to time, we need a reminder. Learning does take an effort, but brainstorming makes it way more fun and effective. Let’s get on this journey together! It’s time to awaken that inner genius.