If you ask someone about their first car, they’ll probably tell you a story. Cars can tell a family history, teach us to deal with adversity and embed themselves into our fondest memories. If we were to make a bingo game out of this we’d find the words tank, yellow, fast, fun and crash on our bingo cards among other themes.
What was your first car?
Whenever I mentioned working on this episode, people often couldn’t resist telling me what their first car was. That’s when I know I have a decent question. I’m always looking for questions where an answer naturally comes to mind, as opposed to something that stumps people. And of course I’m looking for questions that spark stories and even tangents. Tangents are good. If you’re having the same response and want to tell me a story, please do!
Bringing people together to tell stories, as we did to gather some tape for this episode, is also useful. Because when you hear someone tell a story, it often triggers your own stories.
I was surprised that taxis came up as often as they did (you can also put that on your bingo card!). So this made me curious and I went down the Internet rabbit hole and found a gem of a story about a guy in Vermont who was on a quest to get his hands on an old New York Taxi. I was thrilled he said I could use it in this episode.
Militaire Electronic, Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Last November I took on the challenge to post an episode of QuOTeD every day for the month. My friends Dave and Megumi also participated in National Podcast Post Month (NaPodPoMo). On By the Bootstraps, Dave talked about idea generation and asked listeners about where they get their ideas. I just discovered a response I scribbled down at the time and thought I’d share it here. Sorry for the late reply, Dave. But here it is.
Some Ideas about Some Ideas
Recognize the ideas you already have. Ideas float by all of the time. Notice them and keep a notebook.
Define and guard quiet times. Instead of listening to NPR in the morning or popping in the earbuds on the train, experience the ambient noise. Be in the environment.
Guard “the boring bits”, as Sherry Turkle calls them in her book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. The time you spend waiting to get an oil change doesn’t have to be filled with Facebook and the rest of it. Daydream instead.
Read. Read anything. A novel. Trash. The paper. Just make sure it’s a linear experience without hyperlinks. The next distraction need not be a click away.
Take a walk every day. In her podcast, Life Gets Better Now, Mary Hayes Grieco said something that helped me understand why I generally feel better when I walk. She said (roughly) people experience their intuition in different ways. If you’re a kinetic type, you need to move to get the juices going.
Mine your social media feed. I know, I know. I said ditch it. But if you can contain it, Facebook posts might generate some ideas. Be careful. Facebook is also linked to feeling depressed.
Sit down. Be still. You don’t sit down because you have an idea for a novel. You get an idea for a novel because you sit down. This goes back to guarding quiet time.
Practice observing. I like to write about what I see. After a shift of waiting tables, I liked to sit at the bar with a notebook. But maybe you’d rather paint. I tried to learn how to draw a cat by watching a tutorial on YouTube. My cat turned out pretty good. And I learned to notice details about my own cat that I didn’t see before.
Challenge yourself. This list is a case in point. I was challenged to come up with 10 ideas. In other words, not every challenge has to be Mount Everest.
Invite engagement. Interact with people. QuOTeD is all about engagement whether I am talking to individuals or hosting an open mic.
Be in the world. Leave your house… without your mobile device. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but it can’t be said enough. If you’re feeling annoyed… Well that’s some information, isn’t it?
Find your internal motivation. If you can’t find the internal motivation to do something, maybe the challenge needs tuning. Or maybe you need a different challenge.
Experience the new. In The Charge Brendon Burchard talks about incorporating the new into our routines. This can be a big deal, for example, a trip planned months in advance. Or it can be simple. Try walking down an unfamiliar street, for example.
Pound on the piano. I don’t play the piano but I play the piano.
Bounce a ball. Shoot some hoops. You’ve seen a gym, right?
Do something else. When you hit a wall, clean the bathroom. At least get something out of the day even if you’re creatively stuck. Warning: Do not confuse this with taking up any distraction, such as surfing the Internet. Be discerning.
Poke at the Universe. Experiment. See what happens.
Do more. When someone asks you to come up with 10 ways to generate ideas, make it twenty.