Has anyone ever taught you “how” to think? It might seem like an odd question but think about it for a moment. (No pun intended.)
We all think. We’ve all heard about the power of our thoughts. And we’ve all heard about positive thinking.
But have we ever been taught how? Have we ever been taught how to maximize this incredible God-given ability to think?
Several years ago, I was challenged by a friend with this truth: “Every problem has a solution. You must train your brain to find it. Your brain is like a muscle. The more you train it to think and look for ideas and solutions, the more you will find.”
The key is training. The key is understanding how to think and look for solutions.
It’s the secret to innovation. There is no innovation with innovative thinking.
That said, I want to share one way to train your brain to find and capture thoughts that will lead to more solutions and ideas.
The Ten-Minute Storm
This simple exercise has helped me tremendously in thinking and finding ideas and solutions. I call it the Ten-Minute Storm.
Here’s an example of how I used it: I was working on a message for a sermon series about finding God’s plans for our lives. I needed to create a memorable, catchy bottom line that I hoped people would remember. I had the content written, but not the bottom line.
I wanted people to be able to repeat what my sermon was about on Sunday if they were asked about it at the water-cooler on Monday. If you’ve ever given a talk, you know how hard this is. And that was my problem. So I turned to the ten-minute storm to help.
Here’s how it works.
You’ll need a piece of paper and a pen. (Sorry, no computer. It works best when you write by hand.)
You’ll also need a watch or clock to time the ten minutes.
At a precise beginning point, start writing anything that comes to your mind about the idea, problem, message, etc. Even if you can’t think of anything to write, simply write out “I can’t think of anything to write.” Keep going for ten minutes.
Don’t stop. I repeat. Don’t stop. Keep writing.
At the conclusion of the ten-minute brainstorm, stop and look at what you’ve written. Find patterns. Circle what stands out. See if you can find a connection.
Let’s go back to my sermon series as an example. Here are some phrases and words I wrote while trying to find the bottom line of my talk:
I wrote down phrases and words like that for ten minutes. Once the time was up, I stopped and began to circle the phrases that stood out. Suddenly, I saw the bottom line of my message:
I gave that talk last fall. It’s been so fun hearing people come up to me and repeat that bottom line over and over again.
My point is this: Every problem has a solution. You just have to train your brain to look for them.