Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How to Trigger Great Ideas - By Brian Tracy

How to Trigger Great Ideas By Brian Tracy
A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions. There is something about a well-worded question that often penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights.

Questions Stimulate Creative Thinking
Some of the best questions I've found for business problem solving are the following:

Clarify Your Desired Result
Question #1 "What are we trying to do?" Whenever you become frustrated with slow progress for any reason, step back and ask this again and again, "What are we trying to do?"

Analyze Your Current Methods
Question #2 "How are we trying to do it?" If you are experiencing resistance, perhaps your method is wrong. Be willing to objectively analyze your approach by asking, "How are we trying to do it?" Is this the right way? Could there be a better way? What if our method was completely wrong? How else could we approach it?

Could You Be Wrong? It requires courage to face the possibility that you may be wrong but it also leads to your seeing new possibilities. The rule is: Always decide what's right before worrying about who's right.

Question Your Assumptions
Another good question is, "What are our assumptions?" About the person, the product, the market, the business? What are our assumptions? Could we be assuming something that is incorrect? Someone once said that "Errant assumptions lie at the root of every failure".

What if your unspoken or implied assumptions were wrong? What would you have to do differently?

Put Past Decisions on Trial
Another form of focused questioning is what I call "Zero based thinking." This method requires that you put every past decision on trial for its life regularly by asking, "If I had not made this decision, knowing what I now know, would I make it?" If I had not hired this person or gotten involved in this project, knowing what I now know, would I do it over again?

If the answer is "NO" to one of these questions, then your aim should be to get out of the decision as fast as possible. Be willing to "cut your losses," and try something else.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do to trigger more and better ideas.

First, be very clear about exactly what it is that you are trying to do. Write it down and describe it as if it were already achieved.

Second, question your assumptions continually. What if there were a better way? Be willing to try something completely different.
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What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do - Now what??

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

In his poem "The Road Not Taken," Robert Frost compares life to a road
in the woods.... Some paths are clear and smooth; others are bumpy and
filled with obstacles. While Frost's poem encourages us to be bold, to
take risks, and to explore the unknown, the truth of the matter is that
no matter which road you choose, the time will come when you get stuck.
Some problem will come along that is outside your realm of experience,
or a situation will be so surprising, so startling, that you just won't
know what to do.

When you don't know what to do, it's very easy to end up in a "Now
what?" rut... that is, a very non-productive cycle of asking "Now
what?" over and over and over because the only answer you have is "I
don't know."

If this is familiar to you, I encourage you to escape the "Now what?"
rut by considering the following:

1. It's O.K. Not to Know
Many people get stuck right off the bat by beating themselves up for
not having an immediate answer or for not foreseeing each and every
problem they encounter. Nobody can know everything, and nobody can
foresee everything, so don't spend a lot of time on this.

2. Pause, Don't Stop
Take time to reflect on the situation at hand, to discover what the
real problem is and what possible solutions might resolve it. But don't
spend so much time thinking things over that you lose momentum. So
pause, but don't stop, and press on with what you need to do. (Remember
your science lessons: Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest...)

3. Do What You'd Do if You DID Know What to Do
Whenever someone tells me, "I don't know what to do," I ask them what
they would do if they did know what to do. It seems like a silly
question, but most of the time I find that they can answer the
question! Sometimes we are so focused on the problem that we lose sight
of the fact that we really do know a solution to it. Asking this
question pushes us to focus on solving things.

4. Do Anything
There are times when you really, truly just don't have a clue about
what to do. In these cases, doing anything is better than doing
nothing. So, guess... go to lunch... turn left... flip a coin... Taking some
action not only keeps you moving, it changes your perspective on the
problem and helps you stay motivated. If what you've chosen to do is not the exact right thing to do, you'll find out soon enough and can change courses then. Of course, you may very well be correct, so you'll still be on track. Regardless, in most cases, doing something is far better (and more productive) than doing
nothing at all.

- By Jim M. Allen
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Elements of Change by Chris Widener

The key to achieving more than you currently are, no matter which area of your life or work you are focusing in on now, is change. The old saying rings true: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve already got. If you keep eating and exercising the way you currently are, you will weigh the same a year from now. If you continue to sell to the same people on the same schedule, you will make the same amount of money next year. In order to move forward, we must change.
Two things to be true about change. One, it is simple. Two, it is not easy. That is, the concept of change is simple to grasp. People or organizations are quick to say, “Oh, I know we need to change.” Simple.
But where the problem starts, and why most people and organizations do not change, is because it is not easy to change. But, I believe, if the process is well thought out, and if we have the guts and determination to carry it out, change can happen, and we can move on to more fulfilled lives.
Elements of change.
Discontentment with your current state.The first step in the process of change is to not want to be where you currently are. You must be discontent with it. If you are overweight, you must say, “I will not accept this anymore.” If you are in debt, you must say, “I cannot tolerate this any longer.” If you have broken relationships, you must say, “I will not live with this.” This is a decision to change and not accept the status-quo.
The picture of your preferred outcome.What is it that you want to change to? It absolutely is not enough to say “I need to change.” It must be: “I am going to change to…” This becomes the goal. I would encourage you to get a mental picture of it formulated in your mind. Get a real picture of it if it is that tangible. Perhaps write yourself a short essay, extolling the virtues of what life will be like when you get to the changed state.
New associations with the two states.You must begin to associate your current state you are in with pain, and the state you want to be in with pleasure. Let’s take weight for example. We tend to think of ice cream, mounds of it, with pleasure. I know that I do. Especially chocolate chip mint. Last night we went to some friend’s house and we had some ice cream. Normal portions. I don’t like to eat normal portions. I like huge portions of ice cream. There is an association of pleasure there. But what I did to overcome the urge to eat scoop after scoop was to associate huge portions to being overweight, not the pleasure of the taste. I also associated not eating the ice cream with feeling better about myself. Then when it comes to exercise, I work on associating the exercise and weight-lifting with the pleasure of fitting into my clothes rather than the pain my muscles feel every time I do it. This help me win the battle of the mind.
Develop a plan of short, simple steps.“I am going to lose fifty pounds in two months.” “I will sell 500% more next month.” These are examples of change that are good goals to have long term, but too big for the time allotted – and this is havoc on change! If your goals are too big in too short of time, you will fail and become discouraged. Then you will quit and decide change can’t be accomplished. Instead, you must have short, workable, attainable goals if you are going to see real change happen and stay. “I am going to lose five pounds a month for ten months.” “We are going to sell 6% more each month this year (That would double your business each year)” These are the size steps you need to take. Then you will build victory after victory.
Discipline yourself.Sorry but this is where it is up to you. At the heart of change is the ability to discipline ourselves. I cannot lose your weight. Your mom cannot go out and make sales calls for you. The only real obstacle standing between your current state and your desired outcome is you! So do everything you can to get yourself motivated to change! Force yourself to get out of bed and get to work on your goals! Discipline yourself. Choose to make the right decision.
Reward yourself when you have made the change.That’s right: reward yourself. You have worked hard and exerted a lot of self-discipline to get there! You deserve it!
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