Why You Aren’t Coming Up With New (or Good) Ideas

Jeremy Enns
5 min readJan 4, 2020

Ideas are nothing without action, so the saying goes.

It’s a little glib, but I’m not going to argue with it.

It’s also true, however, that action is nothing without an idea, and more often than not, even action and idea together amount to less than we hoped for or maybe even nothing at all.

It’s a disheartening reality, but as anyone who’s started a business and kept it going for any amount of time will tell you, the first (or second, third, fourth…) thing you try rarely works out as you’d hoped.

And even if you do hit it big once, that’s probably not enough.

Most of us can only squeeze so much life out of our individual hits before being relegated to the category of One-Hit Wonders along with Psy, Gotye, and Baha Men…

The key then to both getting off the ground and then remaining aloft once we’ve done so is to ensure we have a steady stream of ideas ready to get to work on when the time is right.

Coming Up With Ideas Is Hard

When I made my first foray into the world of podcasts, one of my favourite shows was Question Of The Day, with Stephen Dubner (of Freakonomics fame) and James Altucher (of James Altucher fame…).

It was a short, daily show in which the two friends would have a lighthearted discussion around a topic, often presented by a listener. I’d often binge-listen through 4 or 5 episodes a day while working full-time as a landscaper.

James mentioned on multiple occasions the practice he had developed of coming up with 10 ideas a day as being central to his success in his life as an entrepreneur.

Being young, impressionable and in the beginning stages of figuring out how to start my own business, I took this advice as truth and started keeping a daily journal of ideas.

The first day I wrote down maybe 6 ideas. They weren’t very good. They may not have even been real ideas, and they definitely weren’t original.

I knew they weren’t good, but I figured that as I built up the idea-generating muscle, I would only get more and better ideas each day until by day 100 I would understand how to cure cancer, have built…

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Jeremy Enns

Founder of podcast production and content amplification agency Counterweight Creative. Believer in the power of kindness and generosity.