In a Life Optimizer post on generating ideas, Donald Latumahina wrote, "...ideas develop exponentially. The more ideas you have, the more ideas you will generate, both in term of quantity and quality."
That got me thinking about how I've seen that play out. One of the things I often see people do is limit themselves because they're afraid to be "wrong," or to look "stupid." In the interest of only letting their strokes of genius out into the light, they start to choke off their idea flow. Paradoxically, that makes it that much less likely that any strokes of genius will see the light of day.
Donald points out that there's actually a multiplier effect at work when it comes to letting the ideas fly:
If I have two ideas - A and B - I can only derive one new idea from those which is AB. If I have three ideas - A, B, and C - I can derive four new ideas which are AB, AC, BC, and ABC. If I have four ideas - A, B, C, and D - I can then derive eleven new ideas which are AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD, ABC, ABD, ACD, BCD, and ABCD.
To give you clearer picture of the exponential effect, here are the numbers above and some more:
- 2 ideas generate 1 new ideas.
- 3 ideas generate 4 new ideas.
- 4 ideas generate 11 new ideas.
- 5 ideas generate 26 new ideas.
- 6 ideas generate 57 new ideas.
- 7 ideas generate 120 new ideas.
He goes on to outline some suggestions for ratcheting up the volume on your ideas.
If you want to create the best life for yourself you can, opening yourself to the broadest expanse of ideas possible is vital. You can only act on what you know about, and if what you know about is limited, so is your potential.
There is so much potential swirling all around us, it's mind-boggling. Opening yourself to the exponential nature of ideas will help you discover that potential.
Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst (sm)
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