13 Steps to Entertaining an Idea

Ideas are your major source of income.

As such, you need to become a MASTER of entertaining those ideas.

Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Note the distinction.

He’s talking about being objective.

Being open. Brainstorming. Considering the possibility that an idea MIGHT be good.

Or, that it might suck.
You won’t know until you entertain it.

So, whether you’re working on a new product, a new business or a new piece of writing, you need a system.

Here’s the Content Management System I’ve been using for years. Feel free to adapt it to your own creative process…

How to Entertain an Idea
1. Write it down. Start a new blank document. Put your idea – or the key point of your idea – at the top of the page.

2. Save. Make this phrase your file name. Save it in a folder called “Ideas,” “Brainstorms” or “Modules.”
3. Start with a List. Write a bullet-point list of everything you know, every question you have and every example you can think of that relates to your idea. Dump your brain until you have nothing left. (This could take five minutes or two hours.) Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or order. Order comes later.

4. Search. Spend a few minutes on Google. Find out what else has been thought, written and said about your idea. Check out blogs, articles, and Wikipedia for verification. Also, hop on Amazon to see if any books have been written specifically about your idea.

5. Gather. Take the facts, statistics, quotations and related information that support your idea and add it to your list. Still keep your document as a list. Don’t organize anything just yet.

6. Stop. Now would be a good time to take a five-minute break. Go work on something totally unrelated to your new idea. This will help you return to the task at hand with an objective perspective.

7. Organize. When you return to your idea, re-read your list. Edit, delete, add to and modify any points that need clarification. Trim the fat and only keep the best material that supports your idea.
8. Filter. OK, now it’s time to bring ideas from one field of knowledge into another field of knowledge. Ask yourself the following Filtering Questions:

*How does this idea fit into my picture of the universe?
*What does this idea have to do with me?
*How does this idea relate to my expertise?

9. Stretch. Expand on specific points as they relate to your expertise. Think about past experiences that would be make good support material.

10. Organize. Break up the list into logical groups. Rearrange key ideas and points together.
11. Edit again. Repeat your editing process.

12. Evaluate. Ask yourself if this is a good idea or not. Decide whether you want to move from “entertaining” to “accepting.” Solicit feedback when necessary.

And, the final step…

13. Leverage. Sell that idea for millions of dollars.

Good luck!

How do you entertain an idea?

Share your creative process here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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