1. Read broadly. The diversity of what you read is as important as the amount and quality if you want to uncover fresh ideas and stimulate insights.
2. Notice carefully. The world is an idea-rich environment to those paying attention. As my friend Jim Cathcart says, “To know more, notice more.”
3. Travel widely. My thinking has been most challenged by travel abroad. Don’t have the budget right now? Take a virtual trip. Use online resources to learn about different places and cultures.
4. Think deeply. Thinking deeply is challenging. It requires time and effort and few are willing to invest either. Don’t just review your experiences. Ask yourself what you have learned from them.
5. Reflect thoughtfully. To me, thinking is active. Reflecting is passive. Rather than acting on what we’ve done, reflection happens when we let what we’ve done act on us. Rather than asking yourself what you’ve learned, look for what life and circumstance are trying to teach you.
6. Experiment relentlessly. Try new things. Switch it up. Do something a bit differently. The idea is so familiar that it sounds obvious and trite, but it is neither. Make experimentation a daily discipline.
7. Record relentlessly. Don’t lose the lessons and insights because of a poor memory. Write down what you’ve learned and what you can do with the information.