The brain, like other parts of our bodies, atrophies if it’s not exercised. You could rush out and pick up the latest digital brain gadget or subscribe to expensive online programs but really all you need is a pen and paper. The instructions are simple: pick an issue or topic and try to come up with 10 solutions or alternatives. It could be 10 ways to get out of debt, or 10 alternatives to retirement or 10 different things you can do with a paper clip. There’s no need for it to be serious or even practical, for the best ideas often arise from the far edge of sanity. Even if most of your ideas are lousy it doesn’t matter, no one will know about them but you. It’s the exercise that counts.
My own book is an example of a brain challenge I set for myself. I was lying in bed, grasping at the sleep that had eluded me for so long when I finally rolled out of bed at 3:00 am and was inspired to create a big, fat list by something I’d read a few days before. With a pencil and dollar store notebook in hand I started scribbling down 100 Ways to get Through Rough Times.
Prior to this early morning awakening I had spent many months slogging my way through post-partum depression (PPD) and I wanted to oil the rusty gears in my head. I figured it would be a major challenge to generate 100 of anything so I kept my expectations low. It took about four days to reach my target. Then I kept coming up with more ideas. It was ridiculous. It’s as though ideas are rabbits, breeding like crazy until there are more of them than you know what to do with. Overall I think this is a good problem to have.
If, for some reason, you are bored at any point today you could pull out your favourite writing instrument and generate ideas, lots of them, more of them than you thought possible. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
NOTE: This post is an excerpt adapted from the book. Yes, I am that lazy. But hey, I did edit it a little, give me some credit! And the book doesn’t have a picture, so there.