There is a well known blog post written by James Altucher (maybe before him, but I don’t know) explaining that one of the best ways to train your brain is to write down 10 ideas per day. No further instructions than that. The ideas can be about literally anything and all qualities of ideas are welcome: bad ideas, good ideas, great ideas, terrible ideas – literally everything is fair game. For example:
- 10 dinner ideas
- 10 different ways to commute to work
- 10 uses for a hammer
- 10 alternatives to college
- 10 ways to surprise my significant other
- 10 different ways to do cardio exercise
You get the idea.
However, do you know how hard it is to create the new habit of actually writing ideas down?
I’m sure there are people better disciplined than me, but for me, it is hard. Despite humans being “creatures of habit”, it takes a lot of energy to shape and create new habits.
Fortunately, through all my trying and testing, I found that the best way to actually create a habit like the idea one is to do it in exchange for money.
How did I accomplish this? I went to Fiverr and offered up a “gig” to give ideas for $5, specifically, providing 10 ideas for business or podcast names (given a short description by the customer of course). Fiverr has a tremendously large user base, and one would be surprised how many people would rather pay $5 than do the simplest mental task. For example, could someone be willing to pay $5 to get a list of recipes that use tomatoes? I wouldn’t put it past anyone. $5 is not a lot of money nowadays, and site has been built in a way that it is incredible easy to search for and order “gigs”.
There are several reasons this method has worked very effectively for me.
- I get paid for it – Although it is an insignificant sum, I end up with $4 more than I had before (since $1 goes to Fiverr).
- Someone else is relying on me – I have a much harder time letting someone else down, rather than myself. This forces me to deliver.
- My reputation/rating is at stake – if I were to get a bad rating, I would no longer be able to sell on Fiverr.
- I can’t skimp on delivery – I can’t cheat and just list 8 ideas, because I am being paid for 10. This forces me to dig deep for ideas.
If you are having trouble creating a new habit to work out your brain muscles, I encourage you to find a way to commercialize it – meaning exchange it for money or bring in a third party for accountability. For me it was delivering ideas on Fiverr. It could be worth a try for you too.