Solving Problems Fast

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Albert Einstein

Do you ever wonder why most exams, be it a high school math exam, college English final, or driver test are all timed?

I’m sure one reason is that time is money and not a lot of teachers want to spend three days waiting for students to finish their essays. An exam fits within our precisely timed lives.

But there’s another reason why exams are timed that we can take advantage of:

Tests are designed to ensure that the majority of students finish.

Or in other words, the exams are tested to be doable (Most of them anyway. I’ve experienced some tests that were diabolically designed to be anything but doable.) This isn’t something most of us think about, but it makes sense. What I find interesting is that last part: the majority of students finish. Put a random group of students in a room and most of them will finish within the time given.

Which got me thinking. What if most (or dare I say any) problem I have can be solved if I focus on answering it within a certain amount of time? Or at least come away with a possible solution I can experiment with?

The goal isn’t speed, I don’t care if I finish quickly. The goal is to give 100% of my energy and creativity towards coming up with ideas for a problem I’m facing while the clock counts down.

Just like how we want to fill a room with objects, or fill a closet with clothes (no matter how small or large it is), we also fill in time we have available.

So what would it look like if you only had an hour to think about a particular problem?

What about 30 minutes? Let’s go smaller. What ideas would you come up within 5 minutes?

What if you only gave yourself 90 seconds?

Think of a problem you want to tackle. It could be anything — work, health, productivity, creative — And then set a timer for 90 seconds.

Like:

  • What can I try to cultivate closer friendships?
  • Or if I only had a day to make $1000, what could I do or sell?
  • What bad habits are weighing me down and what good habits can I replace them with?
  • Or something more general, like what’s bothering me right now and why?

What ideas can you sketch out? Don’t leave anything out. Crazy ideas, boring ideas. Go weird.

The more ideas we have, the better chance we’ll come up with a great idea we can use.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #854

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Ideas Die

Ideas die on the vine unless you pick them when they are ripe.

“Ideas die…”

Every idea that we latch onto has an expiration date for us. We have the opportunity to take a bite (pun intentional) and execute the idea, or not. The longer we wait, the hard it gets to take a leap and start. The health of an idea doesn’t mean it’s gone forever, it just means you weren’t the one to choose it. Ideas are abundant, there’s always other ideas that will come, variations and amalgamations of where we are, what’s happening around us and in our culture and who we are in this present moment.

“Ideas die on the vine…”

If there is one idea growing, we can assume there are more ideas growing. There are a lot of potential ideas out there, and it’s hard to choose the right one. Some are ripe, ready to be chosen. Some are great ideas, some… not so much. Some still need some time in the sun. In the end, there is no perfectly picked idea, only intuition, and passion to make it happen.

You could choose more than one idea, many in fact, but the more you choose, the less time you will be able to enjoy on each one. There’s a limit to how many you can eat, and too many ideas on your plate at once will only result in waste. 

“Ideas die on the vine unless you pick them…”

Maybe the idea is not a good fit for you, or maybe your allergic to it. Just because you have an idea, doesn’t mean you should be the one to do it. Some ideas are meant for other people, and some are meant for us.  But when you do pick an idea, you must go after it will all of your being. 

“Ideas die on the vine unless you pick them when they are ripe.”

Timing is everything. Knowing when an idea is ready is part luck, part intuition, and part self-awareness. The only way to really know is to try, and see what you can make with it. Some jumped on the internet too early. Some jumped on and made millions. 

You can never be 100% that an idea is the perfect time, perfect for you, perfect for the world, but that’s what makes creativity and entrepreneurship exciting. If everyone was always right, everyone would always be boring.  Failure, embarrassment, fear, worry, pain… the hard emotions and loses that it takes to achieve something bigger than yourself make the wins even more thrilling and electric than the win themselves. 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” — Shirley Chisholm

“Ideas are cheap. Ideas are easy. Ideas are common. Everybody has ideas. Ideas are highly, highly overvalued. Execution is all that matters.” — Casey Neistat

“Sometimes ideas are coming so fast that I have to stop doing one song to get another. But I don’t forget the first one. If it works, it will always be there. It’s like the truth: it will find you and lift you up. And if it ain’t right, it will dissolve like sand on the beach.” — Prince

New! The Discover.ist — fresh finds, tinyReview & things I love

I’ve been working on a new style of niche website to coincide with The Renaissance, called

The Discoverist. (thediscover.ist) 

It’s a no fluff, no filler, short and oh so sweet recommends, reviews and fresh finds on things I love.

(music, design, books, health and wellness, blogs, and more!)

If that sounds rad to you, check it out at: thediscover.ist. I’ve got about 5 posts up and counting.

Also, sign up for the +1 discover.ist newsletter, to get the weeks discoveries before anyone else.

CHALLENGE: Carry an Idea Notebook EVERYWHERE!

What’s life without a little challenge? — Boring that’s what!

Challenge: Start Carrying an Idea Notebook

This week’s challenge is simple enough.
You’ve heard it before, but if you aren’t carrying a notebook around with you, you’re missing out on potential ideas that might pop up.

Ideas can come from anywhere,

so it’s a great idea to carry a pen and notebook (or in my case multiple!) around with you to capture the moment.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had ideas on the go which leads to some of my best work. And – to look at the opposite side of the spectrum – how many ideas I’ve forgotten because I didn’t take the time to write them down.

This doesn’t have to be weird — you don’t have to carry a notebook the size of a small dog around — just grab something small, and throw it in your pocket or purse.

If you already carry a notebook, your challenge is to challenge someone else!

My Favorite’s

Smaller Notebooks

Larger Notebooks

“Ideas can come from anywhere and at any time. The problem with making mental notes is that the ink fades very rapidly.”
— Rolf Smith

Challenge Accepted

Josh Waggoner

Challenges are better with friends. Please share this post.

Introducing IDEATION — Let There Be Innovation

Everything around us was, and is an idea.

It was created.

Look up and notice the craftsmanship around you.

Some idea are straightforward, to the point — getting the job done.

Some are well thought out, elegant and remarkable.

Some are inspired by generations of ideas.

That’s the beauty of ideation —

Ideas spark ideas.

Create a great idea, and it might impact generations of ideas going forward.

 

We all have ideas, but some are better than others.

Or we have that moment when we see a brilliant idea, and say ‘AH! Why didn’t I think of that!’

The question is,

What makes a great idea great, and how do we create excellent ones?

Q: What makes an idea great?

 

IDEATION is a RenaissanceLife series focused on this question and others like

  • What makes ideas sticky? And what makes them fall flat?
  • What are the components?
  • Should we give ideas away?
  • What makes ideas clever, elegant, and impactful?
  • What does a bad idea look like and how do we avoid / spot them?

Welcome to IDEATIONLet There Be Innovation.

#KeepPursuing,

Josh Waggoner