Category Archives: Brainstorming

WARNING: Life Changing Event Ahead

I will just say it… “Going through project that you create for yourself will be a life changing event.”

It makes sense if you think about it.  If someone grants you an amazing wish, why wouldn’t it change your life.  If you won the lottery, it would be life changing, right?  If you quit smoking, that would change your life.  Lose 50 pounds and complete your first marathon… how can your life be the same?

How does it change your life?

I love the quote below from Seth Godin (courtesy of James Clear’s book, “Transform Your Habits”).  We usually focus on the big goals that we then break down and create using a 1000 small steps, but it is the small steps that impact our lives as well.

Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that’s really frightening you—the shift in daily habits that would mean a re–invention of how you see yourself.   —Seth Godin will be Life Changing !

The big goal or wish are important because they give us “The Juice” we need to keep going but each step along the way can be just as life changing because it means we are changing our habits and those are what we will carry with us long after we have achieved our wish.

What are good ACTION Steps?

TriangleLogo-2Are there good action steps?  vs. “bad” action steps?  When you start out brainstorming, there are no “bad ideas” because any idea may lead to a good idea or action.

Once you move from brainstorming to executing your action steps you begin to notice that some actions seem better than others.  Maybe more effective or easier or just more fun.  The other ones … are they bad?

Well . . .  yes & no.  

You want to keep them around because there will be additional brainstorming as you progress through your 1000 Cranes project and these “bad ideas” may spark some other, more useful, ideas down the road.  They may even help you overcome obstacles or challenges because they could get you thinking about some counter-intuitive strategies you might be missing.

When you are deciding which idea or action step to tackle, you should consider “The Seinfeld Strategy“.   An online article by James Clear for Entrepreneur magazine describes it this way…

Brad Isaac was a young comedian starting out on the comedy circuit. One fateful night, he found himself in a club where Jerry Seinfeld was performing. In an interview on Lifehacker, Isaac shared what happened when he caught Seinfeld backstage and asked if he had “any tips for a young comic.”

Here’s how Isaac described the interaction with Seinfeld…

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.

“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

A key part of creating your “chain” of action steps is choosing the right ones.  If they are too easy or inconsequential you risk not making any progress toward your goal.  If they are too difficult or overwhelming, you risk not doing them at all.

The key according to the Seinfeld Strategy…

… is to choose a task that is simple enough to be sustainable. At the same time, you have to make sure that your actions are meaningful enough to matter.

For example, researching good jokes each day is simple, but you’re never going to write a joke by merely researching. That’s why the process of writing is a better choice. Writing can actually produce a meaningful result, even when it’s done in small doses.

Similarly, doing 10 pushups per day could be simple and meaningful depending on your level of fitness. It will actually make you stronger. Meanwhile, reading a fitness book each day is simple, but it won’t actually get you in better shape.

Choose tasks that are simple to maintain and capable of producing the outcome you want.

Another way of saying this is to focus on actions and not motions…

So as you evaluate all the possible actions that will build your path to your wish, be sure to craft the action steps so they are “simple enough” that you can do them again & again” while also “meaningful enough that they matter” toward your desired outcome.

Remember, you can always break down your action steps to make them simpler but you are the one who decides how much one action step contributes compared to all the other possible action steps.  Take ACTION NOW !

Brainstorming Tool # 1 — Random-Word-Generator

Random words can be a great tool for brainstorming and the Random Word Generator below was provided by

How do I use a Random Word Generator for Brainstorming?

It is actually pretty easy.  When you feel like you have run out of ideas toward your goal, just grab a random word and figure out an angle or way that the word might be related to your goal.

It could be a characteristic of the word, the opposite of the word or just simple “word association“.  What does the word make you think about?  How can that be tied to your goal?

Random Word Generator:

Simply click on the “Random Word” button and a random word will be generated for you. This is done via javascript so if it does not work, you may want to update the java version on your computer.


Brainstorming Rule # 1:

Remember, there are no wrong answers when you are brainstorming. The value of an idea or action step will be evaluated later. The goal of brainstorming is to come up with as many answers as possible so you have more options to choose from.

A Random Word Generator is a great tool to spark your creativity and can be used either by yourself or with a partner or group. The more people who are involved, the more associations you will find for each word and the more ideas you will generate for your project.

Brainstorming Tips

smartWhen you are brainstorming actions, inevitably you will run out of ideas before your reach 1000.  Even if you make it to 1000, you may need more ideas if you encounter something unexpected in your path, aka an obstacle or challenge, or you may find that the rest of the ideas just don’t fit the “last mile” of your journey toward your wish.

That is where it is helpful to have some “tricks” or tips to fall back on.

Here are some of my best Brainstorming tips…

Go Crazy !  Go beyond the “regular, commonsense way”, which is really pretty boring and consider the CraZY way.  What is the craziest idea you could think of?

Write down random words and figure out a connection to your goal.  It may take multiple steps but each one will get you thinking in a new way.

Consider doing the opposite of what you planned.  Is there a way to go back one step that leads to 5 or 10 steps forward?

Get someone else’s opinion, preferably someone who thinks very differently from the way you do.

Write gibberish as a warm up.  It can stimulate your brain to go in a new direction.

Ask a question … and then relax, pause, and wait for your mind to give you an answer.  You will be surprised by what your subconscious mind will give you when you give it a chance.

What brainstorming tips do you have?  Please leave a comment below and share them with other visitors to this site.