Recently, I was perusing Quora and ran across a question about the key traits of mentally strong people. James Altucher, one of the responders to the question, piqued my interest when he listed 10 habits of mentally strong people.
Of the 10 traits he listed, the one that caught my attention was ‘using the idea muscle.’ I guess I’ve never heard it suggested that way. So, I decided to check out his website. I then started listening to a few of his podcasts. But this habit of using the idea muscle stuck with me: To me, this habit was new.
James has an interesting story of making and losing money, not only once, but twice. He decided to start paying attention to what he was doing right as he gained success and tried his best to do that consistently in his life.
He isolated habits to strengthen each of the four areas of his life. The four daily practices include physical, emotional, mental and spiritual exercises. Writing down 10 ideas a day is a way to improve the mental part of yourself.
As I researched this further, I found that his wife, Claudia Altucher, recently released the book Become An Idea Machine. In the first half of the book, she describes how and why we should develop our idea muscle. In the second half of the book, she gives 180 suggestions: an idea a day for six months. The first 90 are for improving the self; the other 90 are to help others.
For me to implement a practice like this, or any other practice for that matter, I had to find a time to incorporate it into my day. I added this to my journaling routine so that I would be prompted everyday to come us with 10 new ideas. So far I have been coming up with my own ideas, but I will probably use some of Claudia’s prompts in the future.
My family and I ate at a restaurant on St. Simon’s Island during a recent vacation. It wasn’t a very popular restaurant, but we ate there anyway. The meal was average at best. The next day, my 10 ideas were about how that restaurant could improve their service and their food. This is an example of how to use your ideas to help others.
As soon as our vacation was over, I wrote down 10 ideas for ways that we could have improved our trip. This list will help as we plan our family vacation for next year. There is power in writing things down. For one thing, it gets ideas out of my head and onto paper (or in my case, Evernote). If I want to reference my list later, I can.
James and Claudia both say that the simple act of exercising their idea muscle has changed their lives in dramatic ways. I’m game for trying this habit and seeing how it works for me.
If you are interested in reading more about becoming an idea machine, click the title above or head to Audible (and I highly recommend it!) to listen to the book instead.
“Ideas are the currency of life.”
– James Altucher
Question: Are you in the habit of exercising your idea muscle every day? Do you think this practice will strengthen the mental side of yourself?
I’d love to hear your comments!