10 Imaginitive Ways to Pump your Mind for Ideas

life hacks  

Ever play with Tinkertoys as a kid? This toy where you had wheels with peg holes in it, and wood stems of various sizes in which you could create anything. Well, I ran across this book, Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques, by Michael Michalko, has inspired my creativity… I’m only about 28 pages into it!

He has ten ways to help drive your creative juices. I have paraphrased them for us to use.

1. Set an Idea Quota. - Give your mind a workout every day. Set yourself a n idea quota for a challenge you are working on, such as finve new ideas ever day for a week. you’ll find the first five are the hardest, but these will quickly trigger other ideas. The more ideas you come up with, the greater your chances of coming up with winner. Having an idea quota will force you to actively generate ideas and alternatives rather than waiting for them to occur to you.

2. Get Tone. - Fighter pilots say, “I’ve gone tone” when their radar locks onto a target. That’s the point at which the pilot and plane are totally focus on the target. “Getting tone” in everyday life means paying attention to what’s happening around you.

Ordinarily we do not make the fullest use of our ability to see. We move through life looking at a tremendous quantity of information, objects, and scenes, and yet we look but do not see. Paying attention to the world around you will help you develop the extraordinary capacity to look at mundane things and see the miraculous.

3. Don’t Be a Duke of Habit. - Stretch yourself and take a the road less traveled occasionally. Deliberately program changes into your daily life. Make a list of the things you do by habit. Try driving a different route to work. Change your sleeping hours, Read a different newspaper, Try different recipes. Take a bath instead of a shower. You would be surprised how your mind reacts to new things in this way.

The Brain that doesn’t feed itself, eats itself. -Gore Vidal

4. Feed Your Head. - Leaders are Readers. So are creative people. Lets feed our heads full of amazing information, and have a larger database in which to pull ideas from. Read Magazines on varied subjects. Read Nonfiction. When reading them, practice thinking up solutions for any problems presented in the book, before they reveal it in the book. Think as you read, and take notes. Write in the margins of your book, write in a notebook the ideas you have captured from the book, highlight passages. Also, feel free to OUTLINE a book prior to your reading it, to help you know what you are going to learn. Also, maybe you could outline the book after you read it, without looking at the table of contents.

5. Do a Content Analysis. - Check things out! Do a scan of your junkmail before you throw it away, in fact, put all your junkmail in a big box for about a month, then scan it to see if there are any emerging trends or ideas to be gleamed from it. When you are on the road, scan local newspapers for interesting ideas. Observe popular culture and find out what people are interested in and why they are popular. Attend many business lectures and seminars as you can. Listen to different radio stations every week to get a variety of input.

life hacks
6. Create a Brain Bank. - I love this idea. Collect and store ideas like a pack rat. Keep a container (coffee can, Tupperware, shoebox, etc) of ideas and idea starters. Begin collecting interesting ads, quotes, designs, pictures,questions, cartoons, doodles and words that might triggers ideas by association.

Each day, remind yourself that you are working on disciplines everyday that making you better and better. - Jim Rohn

When looking for a new idea, shake up your BrainBank and pull out a couple ideas and free associate, you will be pleasantly surprised how this will help you.

7. Be a Travel Junkie. - When you are bored, GET UP AND GO SOMEWHERE! Go to a trade show, a quirky store, an antique shop, museum, or flea market… just go. And when you are there, walk around with an open mind and allow yourself to be DRAWN to something. Once there, use your mind to make a connection to something else in your life, and it may creatively help you solve some problem.

8. Capture your Thoughts. - Record your thoughts, Carry around a little moleskin in your back pocket. Scientists say that we can keep 5-9 ideas actively in our mind, then they float away. We remember some, and some are gone. By, keeping the notebook in your backpocket, you will capture the thought when it is there. Then you can review it, and perhaps your mind may be able to make a better connection with it later on.

9. Think Right. - Consciously work to make your thinking more fluent with your thinking. So, making descriptive lists as a way to capture thought fluency.

10. Keep an Idea Log. - Take a Moleskine or a Composition book, and divide it into sections that you want to captures ideas. Marketing ideas, Home Improvement Ideas, special projects, planning ideas, comedy skits, or whatever you wish to capture.

After you read the book, you may want to consider purchasing the accompanying Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck which gives you additional exercises to help you tap into your creativity.

Hope this helps you!


Travis Wright

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10 Responses to “10 Imaginitive Ways to Pump your Mind for Ideas”

  1. February 7, 2023 at 9:57 pm #

    Hi Travis
    This is great! i find myself going “off track” and “saturated” and this comes timely. I consider this a miracle for me. Thanks. Keep this up.


  2. Robin
    February 7, 2023 at 11:46 pm #

    Fantastic, I needed some of these ideas. I’ve been in a rut with a doll I’m creating, so now on to some better thinking. Also, remembering I’m where I am because I have chosen to be here. And I allow who I have in my life. Important reminders for me. Thanks

  3. Mae Collins
    February 8, 2023 at 8:51 am #

    I’m a big fan of Thinkertoys. It has helped me immensely become more creative. Enjoy the rest of the book.

  4. shawnotay
    February 8, 2023 at 11:25 am #

    These are great suggestions! I actually have a “brain bank” full of cool stuff for inspiration.


  5. Joseph Bernard
    February 8, 2023 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks Travis for the great ideas and they all are very useful.

    I find the biggest idea generator for me is spending quiet time where I am nurturing stillness but allowing the mind and heart to spark ideas randomly. This usually generates insights and inspirations that are full of aliveness for me.

    Your site is full of great stuff,


  6. Travis Wright
    February 9, 2023 at 1:00 am #

    Hey thanks everyone. Yeah, when I read them, I was like, wow… this is golden. The fine people who read this blog would love it.


    That is an interesting idea… and nice blogs. If you ever wish to guest post let me know.


  7. June 28, 2023 at 11:39 pm #

    Great tips, thanks! I need to do some of these things. My mind usually goes blank when I’m trying to come up with good ideas.

    Greg Kandk’s last blog post..Seamless Gutters Explained

  8. August 2, 2023 at 8:00 am #

    Nice list to get ideas. Clearing your mind out of any previous clutter and thinking out of the box always helps.

    Terry’s last blog post..Boats and boat equipment


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