Podcaster and Choose Yourself author James Altucher promotes a practice of becoming an idea making machine. He suggests coming up with 10 ideas per day. Ideas about anything. It is an exercise for the mind.
Not all ideas will be good. It will be tough to come up with 10 things everyday, but it will train you to work that idea muscle in your brain and when you need to think of an idea in a pinch your training will pay off.
I like to work my joke muscle by writing down thoughts I find amusing about things I observe in life. Sometimes I hit the mark and I’m so self-proud it is ridiculous. Other times I miss and cringe and wonder why I even try. But having that muscle well developed comes in handy when I find myself in a high level stressful situation that needs levity to bring it down a notch.
Recently, I used that joke muscle to work with my son who was attempting to make a joke comparing predatory animals and house pets. It was a good premise and got my joke muscle running. I was able to help him explore how to formulate that type of joke. He still needs some practice, but my joke muscle was trained and ready to help him.
What does all this preamble have to do with getting things done? I used the idea machine practice to come up with three ways to get things done per idea on how to improve oneself.
I started with the title of this post. This title is to 1) catch your eye, 2) pique your interest, and 3) get you to read this post.
Want to accomplish something? Do you 1) know what you want, 2) know why you want it, and 3) know how to get it?
Looking back on previous accomplishments. 1) What has been your experience with getting things done, 2) What things have you done in the past to get those things accomplished, and 3) How did your mindset play a role in your achievements?
Did you 1) write down what you needed to do, 2) break down those things into steps, and 3) review the list repeatedly to make sure you were on track?
Do you have 1) a purpose, 2) a mission, and 3) the means to move forward on those things you want to accomplish?
When you start to struggle. 1) What are the things you are telling yourself, 2) do you believe those thoughts and 3) what are you doing to change the thoughts that are not helping you?
If you continue to struggle. 1) Have you changed the way you are doing things, 2) If not, why have you not changed your behaviors, and 3) what are beliefs about change?
You may find the reasons you have not made changes in your life are due to: 1) the way you think about the world, 2) the way you think about yourself, and 3) the way you think.
The top three takeaways from this post are to explore what you tell yourself about: 1) every situation, 2) every person, and 3) yourself.
You may find that the negativity you hold on to is based on another person’s reality and not your own. You may have been told many negative things about life, other people’s motives and youself.
These negative views most likely came from parents, caregivers, teachers, or other adults. This is not to negate the negative experiences you have had when interacting in the world. However, the preset thought machine in you may have been primed from an early age to view things through a filter of negativity. This is a cognitive distortion filter, which can leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. This triggers anxiety and can lead to persistent depression.
What would have happened if you were given a more accurate filter to view the world? I’m not saying to open yourself up to a rosie-colored distorted view of the world. That is not reality. It is just more helpful for you to see that there is also some good that does happen around you. To open up your ability to view yourself as capable and connected to others. To exercise a brain muscle to notice positive things, too.
You have past accomplishments to refer back to. Build the muscle that can retrieve those memories of success. Use them to propel yourself forward.