I’m celebrating 19 years in business and will share several creative thinking (aka brainstorm) tips in the coming days. Because I know many of these principles are important—not just for a powerful brainstorm session—but to meet any goal in your life!
The first and most essential rule for brainstorming is to postpone judgment. And that’s easier said than done.
We are conditioned to make immediate decisions. Both through our schools and businesses we’re trained to draw conclusions quickly. We’re taught there’s only one right answer.
It reminds me of a post on social media that was shared by a teacher. It was a page from a school test and it said “Motivate your answer.”
In response the student had written: “Go answer, go! You can do it!”
I think it’s hilarious. And it shows how you can interpret things differently if you are not yet too conditioned into one right way of thinking.
Postponing judgment during a brainstorm session is critical for success. If you immediately judge an idea several unwanted things happen:
1. You switch from your creative brain to your analytical half.
Most people are more comfortable using the left side of their brain. Simply because it’s used more often and it’s the part that gets rewarded. Unless you are extremely experienced in switching from your left to your right brain (and the majority of people is not!) you stopped your creative flow by judging.
2. You just killed an idea that might have had great potential.
Except now you’ll never know. Most ideas are smothered before they’ve barely seen the light.
3. You demotivated a colleague
He or she will now be more hesitant to share the next idea. Not ideal when you are trying to solve a problem and need everyone to come up with innovative solutions.
Postponing judgement is one of the things I need to remind participants of most often.
You need to learn to stop the instinct to immediately jump to conclusions. Your analytical mind is not wanted while you try to come up with ideas. Your left brain is welcome once you’re ready to evaluate ideas, but not a minute sooner. There’s a structure to brainstorming for this particular reason!
One of the most sneaky ways this happens is when we forget to postpone judgment on our own ideas.
Whether it’s during a brainstorm or simply living our life, we often conclude things are impossible before we’ve fully explored it.
Not only that, most of us are quick to judge not just ideas but people and situations.
I’m not a saint—I do it too. But over the years I’ve gotten so much better at postponing judgment, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.
In that space of non-judgment there’s an opening. That opening allows in magic.
It allows opportunity, growth, excitement, possibility. That opening is exactly what you need to come up with the next idea—one that might be even better!
And it allows for a more positive, loving and joyful life! A life in which you choose to see opportunities rather than problems.
Here’s to allowing yourself to postpone judgment and be curious about what might unfold. Knowing you can always come to conclusions later 😉
PS Do you want support in coming up with creative solutions for a challenge or dream? ‘Brainstorming with the Universe’ allows you to go straight to the core of your problem or desire and get instant ideas for its solution or creation.