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Secrets of a Successful Brainstormer

Feb 25, 2008
The real secret of a successful idea man is simple: he does something about his ideas. He seizes on the ideas he has gained during a brainstorming session, and he makes them work.

Each of us has seen a new idea and said, "Why, I thought of that a year ago." We say it with scorn, but we should direct the scorn at ourselves, not at the person who had the drive to do something about it.

Successful idea men generate ideas all the time, and they don't hoard them. They do something about them, even if they give them away.

There are a lot of other satisfactions than money in doing this. When I give an idea away and see it acted upon, I get a great thrill of satisfaction and accomplishment. The important thing is to keep having ideas and to keep putting them to work.

There are ways we keep prodding ourselves into reaching farther, to going beyond ourselves. We must, just like an athlete, consciously exercise our brain cells. If we do this, we will be amazed at how our creative energies will increase. I learned to exercise my creative powers several years ago when I read an article in the Reader's Digest which advised "Try Giving Yourself Away." I tried it.

I was writing to a friend overseas. I wanted to send the letter airmail the postage was high and rated by half-ounces, but I couldn't tell how much the onion-skin paper weighed. I wrote several paper manufacturers and got some action. I didn't get a free box of stationery, but I do have the satisfaction of walking into a stationery store or a Wool-worth's and seeing the weight of the paper - one sheet, two, three, and so forth - printed on the bottom of the box of airmail stationery.

I admit it gives me a real lift and feeling of accomplishment. This increases my confidence and makes me know that my ideas can be put to work, that someone will listen to it when I have one.

One of the best ways to keep ourselves moving ahead is to make a deadline. This is a basic working condition of newspapermen, and we should all understand just why and how it works. We can all learn a lesson from the newspaper deadline, and we should set one for ourselves. It shouldn't be so tight we can't keep it and become depressed by the impossible goal, but it should be tight enough to keep us moving, to keep us stretching our faculties.

Once we have established this deadline - for example, in a month I'm going to have that shipping problem licked, by the end of the year I'm going to have a promotion - then we should make it impossible for ourselves to forget it.

There are a number of ways to do this. We can mark up a desk calendar or a wall calendar - better still: both. We should not only mark down the deadline but steps along the way. For example, a notation might read, "Are you halfway finished on that marketing report?" We should always keep reminding ourselves in the manner of the advertisements which say, "Only thirty-five shopping days to Christmas," that we have only thirty-five more working days until we promised ourselves we'd come up with a new idea for the boss.

This is the final secret of all successful idea men. They know that right now is the time to have ideas and right now is the time to do something about them. Brainstorm ways in which to make your dreams come true. Stop right here and brainstorm them, then go out and start working toward that goal. Not tomorrow, but today.
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