I’ve often been asked the question, “Jay, how do you come up with so many good moneymaking ideas? I can’t come up with one.” That’s not true. You can come up with all you’ll ever want or need.
It only requires understanding two simple things:
(1) All ideas are new combinations of old ideas.
(2) The only way to get ideas is to study the principles behind what makes things happen.
Every time anything occurs in life – a process, an event, an achievement, a catastrophe, a windfall – there is almost always a driving force, a key event that spawned it, that created it, that is its foundational element. If you develop an awareness for identifying, culling out, or homing in on these principles, you will find yourself looking deep down to the root of everything that you see going on around you. . You say to yourself, “What’s the core reason that occurred? What’s the basis? What’s the fundamental factor that made it possible?”
Your mind starts questioning, dissecting, and tightly focusing on the nucleus of the principles that drive every occurrence, result, and accomplishment in your life – and I mean everything. You meet a successful person and ask him, “If you had to reduce it down to the simplest principle that accounts for your success, what would it be?” If he lets you, you ask another question: “What made that happen? What influenced you?”
You keep questioning and looking at what makes everything happen, and boiling it down to its simplest principle. And your mind begins to think differently. You start storing the essence of achievement, attainment, and pure creative accomplishment in your brain. Then all you have to do – whenever you’re looking for a breakthrough, a fresh approach or perspective, or a new idea – is combine that fundamental information stored in your brain in different ways.
The way to do that is to not limit the scope or the area you focus on. Make your life one constant adventure in discovering, identifying, and ferreting out the driving principles behind every activity, experience, event, encounter, and observation. If you see an ad and it excites you, ask yourself, “What’s the driving principle that’s making this ad work? What is the basis, the question, the illustration, the point?”
If somebody persuades you to buy something that you weren’t going to buy, ask yourself, “What’s the principle that made me do that?” If something happens, good or bad, in your personal relationships, instead of simply reacting emotionally to it (as you normally would), you’ll now have another reaction – a principle-pursuing reaction where you zero right in on the driving force behind it. When you identify one of these principles, articulate it. If you can, write it down.
The process of writing it down on a pad of paper or in a notebook will indelibly imbed it in the recesses of your mind. It will be there, at your beck and call, ready to be accessed whenever you need to find a new combination of identified principles connected in a fresh, new way. Because that’s the simplest explanation of how new, fresh ideas get created each and every day by people no brighter than you or me. I always try to have a disciplined mind and ask questions. “What is it about the essence of that action? What is that article saying and what can that mean to me?”
Then I go to my industry, looking for a void that other people don’t see. And to my business, because maybe I’m losing leverage. And to my life, because maybe I’m screwing up my relationship with my wife, with my children, with my neighbors, with my friends. I’ve disciplined myself to do this all the time. It’s a powerful process. You won’t believe what it will do for you.