What is Brainstorming and how it works
In Physics, Momentum is the moving force behind an object that is on the move and it's going to take some effort to stop it.
The objects don't have to be only physical objects since thoughts are also affected by this concept in the brainstorming process.
Scenario #1: You want to teach a teenage girl a few different ways to cook eggs.
You start thinking of different ways you have cooked eggs,ways your mom and grandma cooked eggs for you, ways you have eaten eggs at restaurants, even ways you have seen eggs cooked on TV and magazines.
All of those images start coming to your mind (brainstorm) very quick and there is no way to stop it (momentum) unless you make the conscious decision to stop or you get interrupted/distracted.
Here are a few ideas about different ways to cook eggs:
- hard boiled
- sunny side up
- with potatoes
- with veggies
- with ham
- with potatoes, veggies and ham
I'm sure you had at least three more ideas about different ways to cook eggs while reading this list. This is good when the result of the process is something good, like food in this case.
But what happens when you are being pulled into a brainstorming process where the results are not that positive?
At this point you know you want to feel good and usually avoid conversations that don't feel good to you.
Your friend comes and the first thing she says is "I hate my neighbor! She is so careless about keeping her front yard clean that her trash comes to my house!"
Before you join her in her rant and begin a brainstorming session about why to hate her neighbor, you have at least these three options:
- Care more about the way you feel. Just tell your friend you care about the way you feel and you don't really want to be listening negative talk.
- Use distraction as a tool. If her brainstorming process hasn't reached a strong momentum yet, you might be able to distract your friend to another strong topic so she won't come back to her issue.
- Stop the conversation before it involves you. You can say there's nothing you can do and that maybe she should go and talk to her neighbor and tell her how she feels and work together to find a solution
But, your friend was so angry and her brainstorming process already had a strong momentum, that didn't even give you a chance to pull out of it. All of the sudden you were pulled into a process you don't feel good in and there's nothing you can do to stop.
She is complaining and saying things like:
- she never cleans her front yard
- she doesn't care how it affects the neighborhood
- she is this
- she is that
At this point you are already thinking about it and remember things you didn't like about her neighbor as well and start bringing them up
- Yeah, I remember she...
- she did this
- she did that
- Now that we are talking about this, I remember a neighbor I had that...
The thought process gets in a huge momentum that now it's hard to stop and even extends to remembering and talking about other people and experiences about bad neighbors.
What happened here is that the brainstorming process got a very strong momentum that is hard to stop. Don't worry, it will be over soon.
This is how you are dragged into a negative brainstorming process. If your need to feel better is greater than your need to please your friend by engaging in that conversation, then this conversation would have never started and you would be feeling better and proud of yourself for taking care of you.
But, what do you do when the brainstorming process begins with just you and your thoughts?
At this moment no one is with you, just you and your thoughts. Unless you get distracted or expect that your sister and your car will be all right, then your mind would begin brainstorming negatively and gain momentum very quickly.
The conversation in your head would go something like this:
- what if she gets in an accident
- what if she hits another car
- what if another car hits her
- what if she hits a person, omg!
- what if the person dies?
- what if she hits someone and then drives away and then she is found and then goes to jail?
A few minutes later you are still so distracted in your negative brainstorming momentum that you don't even hear when the car pulled in the front of your house.
Your sister walks in, leaves the keys on the table and keeps walking towards the kitchen. And you stay there frozen with disbelief and still full of panic for all the ideas that you thought could have happened but never happened.
All of that unconscious brainstorming was a total waste of time and energy... and on top of that you feel terrible inside.
Doing negative brainstorming always leaves you feeling terrible for doing something that YOU KNOW doesn't make you feel good."
If you want to learn how to brainstorm consciously for positive results, do these 3 simple steps:
- Do you need to think about it? Is there a benefit in thinking about it?
- Does the brainstorming help you bring a solution to a problem or dilemma?
- Does it make you feel good and relaxed while you're thinking about it?
If the answer is NO to any of the above questions, you can go ahead and stop the thinking process. You want to feel good, right? then you don't need to go there right now.
We do this most days, make sure you're present in this process that's going on in your mind. The easiest way to track it is by the way it makes you feel. If you start getting a bad feeling in your body, turn your attention to what you are thinking and stop it or change it.
Now you know how to brainstorm for positive results. Remember the key here is, you need to be part of your thinking process. You need to be present.
Don't let your mind run to a place that you don't want to go to, especially when it doesn't feel good."
So, are you brainstorming consciously or unconsciously?