Have you ever been in a mode where you start thinking about something and go on and on without stopping? This process is good when you like what you are thinking, but what happens when you don't like it?
Brainstorming is a very useful tool when doing it consciously, being aware of what you are thinking, but not so much when doing it unconsciously.
What is Brainstorming and how it works
Brainstorming is when the mind is intensely focused gathering an unlimited number of ideas about a particular topic non-stop. The ideas can be positive or negative.
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.
Let's take a look at three scenarios so you can understand what brainstorming with momentum is.
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:
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?
Scenario #2: Your friend comes to visit you to complain about her neighbor.
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:
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:
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
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?
Scenario #3: You have lend your car to your sister, whom you know, has not had a great record driving. You are worried that she might get in a car accident.
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:
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."
All of this could be avoided if you recognize the type of thoughts that you are paying attention to and realize where they were going. For this you need to learn how to brainstorm consciously.
Now you know that most 'conscious brainstorming' creates positive results and most 'unconscious brainstorming' creates negative results.
If you want to learn how to brainstorm consciously for positive results, do these 3 simple steps:
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?