Strengthening Your Idea Muscles, Free Psych Research Hoard, Being Endlessly Fascinated, And More

Bring Ambition Newsletter - March 25, 2021

Hi folks and welcome aboard new subscribers!

In the Bring Ambition Newsletter, I share 5+ things that are fascinating me lately in the world of professional and personal development, peak performance psychology, meta-learning, side hustles, and more. You'll receive unconventional resources, cool gadgets, practical advice, and other inspiring content.

As always, if you enjoy the newsletter please share with a friend!

1.) Strengthen your idea muscle

I'm currently reading Skip the Line by James Altucher and have been experimenting with one of his suggested daily routines:

Altucher stresses the importance of strengthening your "idea muscle," i.e. improving your ability to generate good, creative, divergent ideas on-command. Aside from the obvious utility of having better ideas, he explains that you will find yourself in situations where you legitimately need a good idea to save your skin. When the time comes, you don’t want to be caught with puny idea muscles.

He suggests the following routine:

  1. Find a notebook (he actually suggests a waiter's pad which is cheap and prevents you from being too verbose, but I'm obsessed with my trusty Moleskine Cahier Journals)

  2. Find a secluded spot

  3. Pick a topic (I have a numbered list of topics and then use a random number generator to pick for me)

  4. Write down 10 ideas around your topic

  5. Do this every single day

Don't be fooled by the exercise's simplicity. I've been doing this consistently for about 3 weeks. It’s improving the quality of my ideas and the speed with which I can generate them.

But maybe more importantly, I look forward to it. It's become a small daily highlight. It reminds you how much is possible, so if you’ve built some momentum it’s a good way to add additional ambition fuel, and if you’re in a slump then it’s a great way to get un-stuck. It’s also extremely motivating to put your ideas, visions, and goals down on paper and make them “real.”

I challenge you to try just 2 weeks of these daily ideation exercises.

To help you along, here are some of Altucher’s ideas for "idea lists:"

  • 10 old things I could make new again

  • 10 ridiculous things I would invent

  • 10 books I could write

  • 10 people I could send ideas to

    • ...and then the next day, come up with 10 ideas for one of them

  • 10 mainstream things I disagree with

And here are some I’ve come up with:

  • 10 tools that would make my life (or job, or business) easier

  • 10 questions I would ask podcast guests

  • 10 tiny niches I could create products / services for

  • 10 things I would ask ____ off the record

  • 10 products I hate

    • … and then the next day, pick one and come up with 10 ideas to improve it

Tips & tricks:

  • Fight for 10 ideas. If your stuck, just come up with the crappiest idea you can. Go for quantity over quality. Inevitably you'll find a few diamonds in the rough.

  • If you find an "idea list" topic is ambiguous, interpret it however you'd like. The point isn’t to do the exercise perfectly, it’s to strengthen creativity muscles.

  • If you need added inspiration, Altucher suggests reading for a few minutes before starting your idea list.

If you want more cool ideas like this, check out Altucher’s Skip the Line.

2.) In case you missed it:

"Why I'm Closing My Business (and Everything I've Learned Along the Way)." I recently published this article to explore why, after 5 years, I've decided to wind down my first serious business venture. As a bonus, it includes a ton of lessons learned and the stories behind them.

As a teaser, here are a few of my favorite key lessons:

  • Don't let glamorous activities distract you from actually growing your business.

  • You can often make up for a lack of resources with technology, ingenuity, and a willingness to learn, aka "Millennial elbow grease"

  • Raise prices.

  • Before you launch a venture, honestly ask yourself: "On a scale of 1-10, how passionate am I about this subject? How enthusiastic would I be if I was still working on this same exact thing 5 years from now?" 8+ is where you want to land. Don't pick 7, that's a cop-out. 6 or less means it'll become draining more than fulfilling and exciting. It will burn you out.

  • Passion is an exceptional hedge against the pain, frustration, and doubt inevitable in the founder's journey.

3.) Free treasure chest of content for my fellow psychology nerds

If you enjoy reading about psychology, you'll love this page: Classics in the History of Psychology. This is a hoard of influential, free, public domain psychological literature and research. It was gathered by Christopher D. Green, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto.

If you make it through that list, there’s even more — Green also has a page of Links to Other Online Documents Related to the History of Psychology. To infinity and beyond!

4.) Insta post / quote of the week:

"Find excitement in doing the same things over and over again. Become 'endlessly fascinated' by repetition."

A post shared by @katiesonier

This quote was shared by Katie Sonier, a badass and inspiring gym owner from Florida who knows a thing or two about repetitions.

Sometimes we can drown in our routines. Our motivation wanes in the face of endless tedium. But to realize your ambitions, to rise above “average,” you need to fall in love with the process, find something fascinating about every monotonous repetition, and do everything it takes to maintain your enthusiasm.

You can get very far in life with a little luck and a lot of enthusiasm.


Have feedback on this newsletter? I’d love to hear it — What did you enjoy? What's the worst thing about it that needs to be fixed as soon as possible? Reply here, or you can reach me on Twitter or Instagram.

Have a great weekend!

Jon D'Alessandro

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