“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
How To Develop Your Ideas: A Guide To Creative Thinking
by Chris Nelson-Jeffers
Where do your ideas come from?
Creative vision is the capacity to envision new possibilities, dream new dreams, and to tap into the vast powers of the universe.
Creative vision – also known as Imagination – is the faculty of your mind that provides you with the ability and capacity to build a new tomorrow.
This vast reservoir of creative ability and intuitive insights exists deep in your mind at this very moment, waiting to be released.
The outstanding creative leaders of the world are the universe-changers and adventuresome paradigm pioneers. They see problems to be solved and tackle head-on the obstacles found in the solutions. They refuse to be distracted or daunted by statements such as:
- It’s not possible.
- We’ve never done it that way before.
- We tried that already.
- Now is not the right time.
- There is only one right answer, and that isn’t it.
Synthetic vs. Creative Imagination
Imagination, like reasoning, takes two forms – synthetic imagination, and creative imagination. Like any muscle of the body, both forms will develop in proportion to their use.
Synthetic imagination does not create new ideas, but uses known facts, concepts, and ideas gained from experience, education, and observation in new combinations, putting them to a new or different use.
For example, there are just 26 letters, 14 punctuation symbols, and 10 numerals in the written English language. These are arranged in different ways to represent the roughly 171,000 words in current use (with the average person knowing and using between 20,000 and 30,000), and with an estimated 8,500 words being created every year.
These words are likewise arranged in infinite combinations to form sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and entire books that express and explain concepts and ideas both simple and complex, and to lay out and communicate plans and to direct actions.
Thus, with words any individual can travel in his or her mind to places he or she has never been, see things they’ve never seen, and experience what they’ve never experienced – or they can communicate those things to others.
Creative imagination on the other hand is the faculty through which hunches, inspiration, and insights are received and where new information, ideas and facts are generated.
Creative imagination is based in the subconscious portion of the mind, which reveals new facts and ideas.
Many people think these ideas and insights are received in the mind by a “sixth sense” of the subconscious, and are received from an infinite, universal reservoir of intelligence and shared knowledge.
Everything that anyone ever creates or builds starts first as a thought in his or her mind.
The engineer who planned a bridge sees it as a reality long before a single shovel of dirt had been moved for the foundation stones. The architect who designs a house or tall office building sees it complete in his mind before the first brick is laid.
Creative thinkers are able to see beyond what they know and understand, to consider what might be and become.
In short, synthetic imagination results from creative visioning based on experience and reason. Synthetic imagination recognizes existing limitations, handicaps, and opposition. Creative imagination and vision sees beyond the limitations to what possibilities are beyond.
Tapping Into Your Creative Vision
Creativity depends on a rested, unencumbered mind.
How often have you wrestled with a problem, only to have the answer jump into your mind at a moment when you were not thinking about it, or were thinking about something else?
Many people report inspiration coming to them when they are in the shower, for example, or when they wake up in the middle of the night.
Dr. Elmer R. Gates (1859-1923), a scientist and contemporary of Thomas A. Edison, developed his own method of creative visioning, which he called “sitting for ideas.”
When Dr. Gates wanted a solution to a problem, he would collect and study as much relevant information as he could, then close himself into a special soundproof room he had designed and built just for this purpose.
Seated at a table supplied with pencils and paper, he would turn off the light in the room. Then in darkness and silence he would concentrate his thoughts on the nature of his problem, and then wait for the reception of ideas for the solution.
Sometimes the ideas would immediately bubble up in his mind. Sometimes he sat for more than an hour before the ideas came, and sometimes they never came – but Dr. Gates refined and perfected more than 250 patents using this method of creative visioning.
Gate’s skill and results obtained through his practice of creative visioning was so well known and reliable that many large companies would hire him as a consultant to help them solve their mechanical, economic, and industrial problems, paying him high fees for his time.
Cultivate the habit of carrying a small notebook and pencil with you at all times. Keep one on the nightstand next to you at night. Write down your ideas and flashes of inspiration whenever they come to you.
Don’t analyze your thought … just write it down. You can think about it later. For now, let your subconscious deliver ideas to you unrestrained by logic or doubt.
Rid Yourself of Limiting Beliefs
As we have explored previously (Rid Yourself of Limiting Beliefs and Are Your Beliefs Holding You Back?) most people limit their own potential because of certain beliefs they have about themselves and others.
There is a difference between knowing your own limits – which is essential – and allowing yourself to be held back from achieving your goals because of beliefs about yourself and others which are inaccurate, outdated, or simply not true.
Most people acquire their most limiting beliefs early in life, during childhood. Most often these are communicated by parents, family, or other authority figures in our lives – teachers, religious leaders, and even celebrities and other “influencers” to whom we are exposed through television, the Internet, and other media sources.
Usually, such belief programming is intended to protect us from harm during our most vulnerable years of childhood. Sometimes they are mental programs that are imparted by dysfunctional people in our lives, who end up imposing their own perceived limitations and demons onto us.
Now that you are a full-grown adult, it is time to identify those outdated, counter-productive, negative, and even destructive ideas and beliefs, confront them, and to replace them with beliefs and ideas that are positive and constructive.
Most people are uncomfortable when beliefs they have taken for granted most of their lives – even when harmful – are shown to be false.
Ignoring the truth, however, won’t make the truth go away. It will only make it harder for you to learn, grow, and to achieve your goals.
Remember, the power to think as you wish to think is the one power over which you – and only you – have absolute authority and control.
Others may deal with you unfairly, even cruelly. They may cheat you in a thousand ways, deprive you of your liberty and your material wealth, but they cannot take from you your fundamental ability to think and feel and imagine as you wish.
If you don’t take charge of your own life and destiny, there are any number of people who will happily use you for their own ends and purposes.
Gain a New Perspective
There is not anyone in this world who doesn’t sometimes want to give up.
If you are challenging yourself at all, you are going to come up against obstacles that seem insurmountable.
Often the best way to find a solution (and to stimulate your creative vision) is to gain a new perspective on your problem. When you are stumped by a problem, try these:
Take a break.
Previously we saw how it is that your subconscious will often deliver an insight or solution to a problem – when you are no longer actively thinking about it.
So, stop thinking about it, at least for a little while. Take a break. Go do something else. Take a walk. Go work out at the gym. Do some yard work. Work on a hobby. Get a massage. Take a nap. Or, just leave it for tomorrow and come back at it in the morning.
Ruminating refers to the process by which animals classified as ruminants consume their food. A ruminant will typically eat grasses and other leafy forages. During rumination, a cud of partially-digested feed or forage is regurgitated, re-chewed, and re-swallowed.
In psychiatry, rumination refers to a repetitive negative thought pattern that loops continuously and obsessively in the mind, usually involving the repeated looping review of a distressing situation or problem, without end or completion.
If you find yourself hyper-focusing on a repetitive loop of negative thoughts and worry, you can often break the cycle by doing something to distract your mind from the problem.
Go Big Picture
How much does this thing that you are struggling with really matter? Is it crucial to your goal? Will it really matter one way or another in a few months, or in a year? Get some perspective on your Many things that seem critical at the moment, aren’t really all that important in the long run to achieving your goals.
Don’t Over-Think It
Sometimes we’re drawn to think TOO long term, over-emphasizing the impact every little decision will have on the rest of our lives. It’s easy to get caught in “analysis paralysis” with too many options and too much information. Narrow things down to what’s most important.
Remember, circumstances will change. Make the best decision that you can in the present that will keep you moving forward.
Get Help. Talk It Out.
You can’t always know everything you need to know, and if you don’t know what you don’t know you may not even know what to ask. Often the quickest way to find a solution is to ask someone who is more expert or experienced in the subject at hand. Often just explaining a situation to someone else will focus and clarify your thinking.
The decision still needs to be yours. Other people are not you, and their recommendation or advice may not be entirely appropriate to your situation. Free advice is usually worth just what you’ve paid for it.
Creative visioning – imagination – is a critical faculty and skill that will provide you with the keys to achieving your goals and all that you desire. It is a skill that grows stronger the more that you exercise it.
Not every idea you have will be a slam-dunk success or home-run winner, but every idea will have the potential to advance you one step closer to your goals.
Thomas Edison tried ten thousand different ways to create sustainable light with electricity. Each time the material he tried would burn out after just a few seconds.
Yet Edison’s stubborn attitude was not that he had failed 10,000 times, but that he had found and eliminated 10,000 possibilities that didn’t work.
Ultimately it was Edison’s synthetic imagination that solved the problem, combining the known fact that combustion will not occur in a vacuum, with his identification of thin metal wires that glowed brightly when an electric current passed through them, Cresulted in the world-changing invention of the electric light bulb.
That’s it for now. Talk to you again soon …
To your success,
“The success and prosperity guy”
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