Looking For Ideas

Ideas are undoubtedly very important things. There is a Buddhist thing that goes like this

  • Think correct thoughts
  • Say correct words
  • Do correct things

Or something more or less tike that. ‘Think correct thoughts’ leads the pack because thoughts lead to words and actions.

Before we say or do anything, we start by having ideas about what to say or do. There is a gap between having an idea of what to say and do and actually saying or doing it. During this gap, we are presented with an opportunity to evaluate our idea before we actually say or act on it. We use this gap to compare an idea with other ideas, and to select the best amongst them. Steven Covey’s excellent guide to living – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People teaches us to use this gap correctly.

Obviously then, having more ideas lead to us seeing more options. I said ‘seeing’ instead of ’having’ because often times, we do have many options. However, due to our own lack of ideas, we do not realize that we have so many options before us. Our sight of al possible options is limited by the ideas that we have.

So it is important to have more ideas. How do we then generate more ideas? Well, here area a few tools that I use to generate ideas. They have been with me for awhile and they have served me well.

  • Firefox and the Scribefire extension. You can get so many ideas by reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts on the Internet. The Scribefire extension helps me to document and blog observations made and ideas that pop into my mind while surfing. The programmer of this free tool keeps it constantly updated. That’s passion!
  • Notetab Light. This is a great text editor. I love it over the so many other text editors we have around. I have multiple tabs to various different text files, and it auto saves my writings. It is very lightweight and launches fast. These are for notes that I do not wish to post to my blog. Notetab Light is so powerful with its own set of commands and macros. My usage barely scratches the surface of its full capabilities. This is a free software too! May God bless its programmer.
  • Microsoft OneNoteI use this tool to note down the more heavyweight ideas and their development. I love the way I can create multiple notebooks with various pages, tabs and sub-tabs in OneNote. I create templates for common occasions with template pages and tabs to force myself to think through ideas according to a standard methodology. The more I practise the methodology, the more efficient the process becomes. The drawback of using OneNote is only that not many people whom I know are use it, and sharing Notebooks with others is therefore problematic. I overcome this by sending them emails consisting of one OneNote page at a time. The emails generated by OneNote look good.
  • Mindjet MindManager Pro. This is a great tool for mind-mapping. The mind-mapping method really helps to generate new ideas and spawn offshoots them. There are plenty of adornments I can place on my ideas such as icons to rank them by urgency and importance. I can also construct hierarchies of mindmaps where one mindmap leads to sub-mindmaps.  This is a great tool for brainstorming and for expanding brainstorms. In fact, there is a brainstorm mode for group brainstorming. I do wish that i can do more than just creating items and sub-items with the methodology though. It would be good, for example, if I can create matrixes between ideas using the tool. I like the export function very much.I can export my mindmaps into Microsoft Word, Microsoft Project, etc. However, I wish I have means to synchronise exported contents with changes made to the mindmap subsequent to exporting.

Anyway, here’s a good website with a tagline that says “ideas worth spreading”. To think that people used to languish lifetimes in prisons or even be killed for having ideas worth spreading, and how easily it is for an idea to spread now



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