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How To Get Great Ideas

Aug 18, 2007
Most persons whose lives fall short of their great possibilities do so for lack of imagination, and lack of ideas. Imagination is the power of the mind to create mental images of objects previously perceived; the power to reconstruct or recombine the materials furnished by direct apprehension; the power to recombine the materials furnished by experience or memory.

Before your imagination can produce practically, it is necessary to proceed with a high degree of observation. Otherwise imagination will turn to fantasy and will not jibe with the requirements of reality.

Observation is perception with a purpose. You can be responsive to sensations without either perceiving or observing. This is usually called thoughtlessness, wool gathering or mind wandering. As has been well said, "Every normal creature has seen the lightning flash, but Benjamin Franklin observed it."

Extend your eyes and your ears into unfamiliar matters and consider continually how some idea gleaned from one of these fields can be put to use by your own project. Listening, too, which is much more than keeping your mouth shut, should be cultivated observantly with a view to accuracy and precision.

Far too common is it for us to go on living, year after year, without learning anything from what happens all around us. It is wise, when you look at a thing, to see it. Train yourself to observe not only accurately but quickly. This is at the foundation of making contrasts, similarities, additions, eliminations, and proceeding with all the processes involved in the search for ideas.

Observation is necessary to anyone who wishes to progress at all in the field of ideas. It forms the basis of success in art, literature, science, business, government, persons relations and any endeavor. An artist is able to put life into his work because he has observed the subject he wishes to represent on his canvas.

Playwrights or novelists succeed according to the accuracy of their psychological observations. Knowledge of the human heart requires a sum of experience, which can only be gained through extensive observation. The businessman must be a keen observer to evaluate the people with whom he deals, the goods or services with which he is involved.

First hand knowledge based on personal observation makes for confidence, originality, leadership, memory, imagination, purpose, achievement. The basis of all detective work is keen observation and accurate interpretation. Will anyone say a good detective is not an idea producer? Observation and accurate interpretation are the basis of all hidden opportunities.

One single observation or interpretation of a sensation has been the turning point of a person's life in thousands of cases. One single observation has built fortunes, won wars and achieved in any number of cases, which confront us all the time.

The higher mental processes - reasoning, reflection, memory, imagination, and so on, are of no value unless the material composing them - sensations - are accurate. Interpretations of the sensation can be no more accurate than the observation thereof. So spare no effort to be a competent observer. In this way you will never be short of a great idea!
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