Problem Solving #3: Mindstorming


“Mindstorming” is the same thing as “Brainstorming”, only  in a solitary process.    This is what you have to use if you don’t have an external “Mastermind” to bounce ideas off of.  It is the most primary mode of thought, and where the rubber meets the road.

some thoughts:

  1. Again, it is critical to allow yourself to be silly, stupid, profane, just plain WRONG.  Nothing stops the flow of ideas like the notion that they all have to be “good.” The only way to have a good idea is to come up with a LOT of bad ideas!
  2. voice recorder apps for your cellphone are your friend. As are index cards, post-it notes, Scan Cards (my current favorite: and other tools are great, as are mind-maps, outliners, and so forth.  
  3. Use multi-sensory techniques, digital, visual, auditory, tactile…anything you can to stimulate thinking.
  4. Give yourself a time-limit of ten minutes and generate a HUNDRED ideas that apply to your problem.    
  5. Practice going into “flow state”.  This is a skill separate from any particular application, and worthy of study.  It is the doorway to esoteric mental attributes, but also high creativity and full use of intelligence.   Tai Chi, Yoga, walking/running, dancing, 60 beat per minute “Largo” rhythm instrumental music, soft jazz…anything that takes you out of language and into visual/tactile thinking will do it.  I feel so sorry for those poor souls who have no idea that they can think without words.  
  6. Think of five people you admire.   Write out what you think each of them would say about your current problem or situation.


These are just to get you started. Really, I could go on forever.  And in fact, I invite you readers to add your own ideas in the comment section.  Share and learn!





  1. A brief side comment, with thanks: It is perhaps one of the more insidious symptoms of disorder, to exist dissociated at the remove of the stories one tells oneself inside one’s own head *about* “life”, rather than being able to be associated, assimilated, and living *in* life. Thank you for acknowledging, it *is* a sadness.
    ‘storming ideas, shotgunning at solutions – how do we perceive the lack of ideas?
    Here’s one I’ve done: Pull out a d20, a dodecahedron die; assign numbers one-20 each an aspect of the central gap/problem/issue – roll the die – expand on the aspect associated with the number that comes up – almost invariably, some other aspect will jump into attention, and the “grasshopper mind” is off! Hopping all over the place, at random, mapping the field, painting the map in “pointillism” – it takes time for the picture to emerge, but it is usually preferable to the blank canvas we were starting with.


  2. Never thought about getting out of language. As a career educator, I wish I had resources to study concentration and focus and the impact of our over-stimulated society. I am a consummate note taker.I also believe in Artist dates (as described in the Artist Way) to garner ideas. I also believe in visualization which usually leads to a dream-filled, idea-producing nap.


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