If you produce one hundred ideas, one of them is likely to be great. If you produce only five ideas, the chances of one being great are vey small. Maya Angelou – I wrote about her last week – she wrote seven autobiographies. Only one is talked about repeatedly.
Picasso produced over fifty thousand works of art in his lifetime. Only a small percentage of that is on display anywhere. Much of his work, he kept hidden because he understood that sometimes it takes lots of producing to get to the result that people call genius.
In his book, The Art of Creative Thinking, Rod Judkins talks about coaching people to be creative.
His method: brainstorm 100 ways to accomplish an idea.
The first forty ideas, he says, are usually obvious. The next forty are unusual and offbeat. But the last twenty is where the magic happens. The last twenty are strange and creatively surreal because the participants are forced to push their minds into areas they haven’t explored before. Challenge yourself to generate more ideas. Create lots of ideas and harbor little attachment to them. Understand that there isn’t much value in those ideas – they were only part of the process to achieving greatness. Find the one idea – your best idea – and pursue it. When it’s time to show your work, you’ll know this is undoubtedly your best work.
I challenged one of my students with this assignment in a tutoring session: What is the best idea you’ve come up with thus far? How many ideas did you reject before you came up with this great idea? Now that you’ve had this great idea, what are you going to do about it?
I’m still waiting for my student to respond to me. But would you like to take the challenge too?
Linked up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud