There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” — Edward de Bono
The production of ideas is just as definite a process as the production of Fords; —James Webb Young
The 50 Item List
This process involves you focusing 100% of your energy for a fixed amount of time coming up with at least 50 solutions to a problem or 50 ideas regarding any topic.
“As strange as it sounds, creativity can become a habit…Making it one helps you become more productive.”
#1. Don’t stop until you have 50 items on your list or a set time has elapsed (30-60 mins).
There is no secret power in the number 50. Just as 50 sit ups may be nothing for some people, but may kill others, you can (and should) adjust the number so that it is difficult. It is by really working through the list when ideas are hard to come by that you start to really see things in a new light.
#2 Don’t worry how stupid some of your ideas are (some of mine below are a little weird, but they are off the cuff.)
“It seems that when we are being perfectionists, we become extremely focused on the details or minutiae, whereas during our most creative times (or so the research suggests) we are in a most unfocused state, i.e. constraining certain ‘irrelevant’ trains of thought versus letting the mind free “to wander”. –Michele Youakim, Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience and Neuroanatomy at the University at Buffalo (via hubspot)
#3 Make it a habit.
The goal is to forge a permanent mindset of analysis and problem-solving won’t always have to create a list of 50 items to come up with creative ideas and solutions, but doing this regularly will strengthen your overall abilities.
#4 Push until it is very difficult.
That is when creativity develops (like a muscle, you’re training your brain to not stop searching for solutions and opportunities.)
#5 Repeat as often as you can
50 Ideas for 50 Item Lists
50 ways you can eat better
50 ways you can save money
50 topics to write about
50 big words you know
50 facts you know about a topic
50 problems you have each day
50 ways to make new connections
50 ways to keep your house clean
50 things you want to do before you die
50 things you are thankful for
50 people you have met in your life
50 things you think are cool
50 things you hate
50 things you can do to lose weight
50 things you can do to improve your community
50 nice things about people you love
50 books you have read
50 ways to be nice to others
50 people you admire
50 ways to make money
50 places you have been
50 foods you love
50 memories you have
50 best things you have ever done
50 meals you could cook
50 marketing ideas
50 book ideas you could write
50 dreams you can remember
50 skills you can learn
50 skills you have
50 ways to improve learning retention
50 ways to get extra exercise
50 ways to show someone you love them
50 date ideas for you and your spouse
50 morning rituals you could adopt.
50 traits of successful people
50 ways to improve your desktop
50 quotes you love
50 athletes you remember
50 ways to improve your community
50 gifts you could give people
50 book topics you’d read
50 products you wish existed
50 mistakes you have made
50 facts about (anything)
50 ways things are better since (any year)
50 ways you can keep your car clean
50 names you like
50 things you don’t know
50 ways to meet more people.
There you have it… notice that list above is pretty random. Don’t be embarrassed by yours! They are supposed to be this way.
Now, go for it!