Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What The Butterfly Effect Can Teach You About Stepping Outside Your Bubble

Mind Mapping
Mind Mapping (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)
By Jamie D Alexander

Are you struggling to come up with innovative new ideas to help make your business more successful? Maybe you've exhausted all your options and are about to give up. If it's at that stage there doesn't look like there's much hope.

But what if that was all to change? Imagine someone offered you the chance to travel around the world, stopping in every country you passed exploring the alien cultures, and finding new ideas in places you never knew existed. The opportunity would be too good to pass up.

How does your mind work?

One minute you could be sitting drinking coffee in New York, and the next minute on an airplane to Brazil. What would happen when you went for a coffee in Rio: how does your mind work? Would you think nothing of it, just sit there drinking your coffee, or would you think like a genius, picking up on the subtle differences between the coffee shops in New York and Rio? What works better? What doesn't work so well? How could you improve it?

After Brazil you set off again, but this time to Thailand. You didn't enjoy your experience on Copacabana beach. No matter how hard you tried to find a sun lounger, someone would always steal it. Here on Ao Nang beach, it's different. The setup they use works perfectly. You couldn't work out why it didn't work in Brazil. The solution was hidden inside your mind, impossible to find, but as soon as you seen it working in Thailand it became clear.

There is an infinite amount of ideas you could pick up if you traveled to every country in the world. Everybody you speak to will have completely different ideas because they've been brought up differently. The way things are run will be unique because they don't think the way you do.

You can never have too many ideas

If you're really creative, you could use those ideas to influence your own thinking. You don't have to copy the ideas. You can take all the best ones and disregard the duds. Take the ideas and combine them into something unique. Take an idea from a completely different industry and use it in your own, or just store the ideas in your mind for future use.

It's very important you experience a wide range of things you've never tried before, especially if you're an entrepreneur because those new ideas could change your life. You must never stop topping up your mind with idea fuel for your next stroke of genius.

One special idea

Everyone has an unlimited potential to come up with new ides. I believe out of all those ideas, each of us will come up with at least one special idea. An idea that could change your life forever. One that you'll only find if you keep searching in areas you least expect to find it - building a huge collection of ideas that will lay dormant in your mind until one day that big idea hits you.

Ideas are under your nose

The best part is, you don't need to travel around the world to explore new ideas. They are under your nose. Have you ever looked and wondered what great ideas are all around you right here, right now? I'm guessing you're so caught up in your own bubble you don't have a clue? You don't appreciate what you already have because you see it every day, but the thought of traveling the world excited you because it was different.

You could walk outside and it would take you five minutes to find someone who thinks differently from you. Who can look at the exact same thing and see it in a completely different light. And they can help you. It's time to burst your bubble, step outside and take in everything you can. There is no need to step on a plane - just go for a walk.

Ask yourself honestly if you'd be found guilty of:

- Ignoring someone because they are different from you
- Avoiding certain places/activities that don't interest you

Throw yourself in the mix

Everyone is different. The people you pass every day on the street, or you sit next to in the doctor's waiting room. The next time you're sitting next to someone on the bus, speak to them. You never know what ideas they'll spark inside you.

It's the same with businesses. Do you know why they're so successful? What about the things they do wrong? Speak to them - find out. Make a point of going in and starting a conversation. Ask them why they're doing well and they'll be happy to tell you - to gloat, in a nice way of course.

It's hard to come up with new ideas if you can only base them on the things you already know. If you live in a bubble your whole life you won't have enough experiences to generate new ideas from, no matter how creative you are.

The butterfly effect

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world - Chaos Theory
An idea is like a little ball of energy, much like the energy created when a butterfly flaps its wings. You can't feel it. It's so small you don't know it exists. When you step out the bubble and experience new things, talk to new people, it will cause a ripple effect and that small ball of energy will gain momentum and build in size.

At some point in the future, that little ball of energy will become a huge, powerful idea. So powerful it could cause a typhoon halfway around the world. This could happen soon, or it could happen after years of exploring for new ideas. When it finally happens, this is your big idea - the one you've been looking for. The one that will change your life.

Take the plunge

For the next week, try experiencing new things and talking to new people. Start a new hobby you've always wanted to try but have put off for years. Try talking to some young punk and asking what they think of an idea you have.

Open yourself up to the possibility of finding new ideas everywhere you go. Become more aware of the word you live in. You don't have to leave the country, remember, it's right in front of you when you're ready to step outside the bubble.

Seek ideas and they will find you.

Drop by Flicker Of Genius where Jamie Alexander helps thousands of entrepreneurs increase their creative ability and build successful businesses. He is also the author of Lucid Dreaming: Exploring the Mysterious World of Imagination.

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