What I have learned so far on how to think better

It's been a few weeks since I had started adopting Joel Gascoigne's process for generating blog content and improving as a better thinker, and it has worked fairly well. Had a great discussion over this past weekend with friend and 22 Maple founder Aaron Alfson, and it really made me think about how to extrapolate lessons learned.

What I have found is that there are really three distinct phases in this funnel:

  • Ideation: Exposing myself to diverse ideas, and sign-posting certain ideas that are aligned to my passion
  • Discussion: Discussing ideas that I am passionate about around multiple conversations
  • Generation: Generating blog content and deeper exploration around ideas that I have had conversations about

The tactics, of course, vary depending on the product and the audience that uses the product. For the Ideation phase, I have used Quibb, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Granted most of those link to Buffer which makes my life a lot easier, but it does not necessarily have to. And each product will ideate differently depending on its audience; for example, I have found that Quibb is great for ideating analytical startup content, but Twitter is better for growth hacking and qualitative content. Facebook is great for non-startup content, while LinkedIn is much much better for professional development pieces.

Discussion is then taking the ideas (now in their condensed, "mini-headline" form) to generate discussions. Mind you - a "thank you" reply to a Facebook post isn't really part of a discussion at all, which is something I have found myself doing. A discussion attempts to continue the dialogue and continuity of the idea, and to prod and make more robust. I will admit that to a certain degree I have been intellectually lazy to simply reply "thanks for the comment!" - something that needs to stop.

Lastly is Generation, which takes the myriad (hopefully) of discussions and structures into one coherent thought. I have found that when I start writing my thoughts go one way, and when I re-write oftentimes it goes to another. Depending on the idea, this cycle can happen multiple times.

Another thing I have found is that tougher pieces generally require multiple generation cycles; perhaps it is a function of my own inadequacy as a writer, but perhaps it is a function of how tough the idea is. When I have encountered this stumbling block, what I do is to take this semi-generated idea and discuss it with contacts who are interested in the idea.

Does this process resonate with you, or do you have another process? Would love to hear feedback.