This article is a continuation of the first part. You can read part I here.
With those factors in mind, here are three ways that we can begin developing and generating ideas.
1. Discuss Ideas
The first step is simple, but very often, difficult to do: discuss ideas. Discuss ideas with people, and we’ll begin generating really good ones.
Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” As human beings, we are creatures of habit; therefore, if we get in the habit of discussing ideas, we will gradually get better at it, and it will become habitual. Not only that, if we constantly think about and discuss ideas and solutions to the world’s problems, we will shy away from gossiping about one another. If we want to be among those with great minds, we need to develop habits of the people with great minds—one step in doing that is to more often discuss ideas, rather than people and events.
We need to practice the art of coming up with ideas. Some methods that may work include creating think tanks (sitting with a group of friends to discuss problems and their solutions on a consistent basis), observing the world around us, taking notes on problems and issues we see in our society, and more.
One of the characteristics of the complete Muslim personality, according to an article Shaykh Jamaal Diwan wrote for SuhaibWebb.com, is the characteristic of being beneficial to our society. As Muslims, we must be beneficial to the society we are in. Again, if we see the ills of this society, we should do our best to think and come up with ideas to address them.
3. Have a conducive environment
As mentioned earlier, our environment plays a vital role in our lives in the way we develop ideas. Some environments can pose a hindrance to developing ideas, while others can be very conducive. It is a simple and evident truth; those around us influence us. If the people we have around us are negative, then we too will become influenced by their negativity. If the people around us are positive, then we too will become positive.
Interestingly enough, Ustadh Khurram Murad points out that it isn’t only people in our environments that can influence us; what about when we’re alone? What kind of environment influences us then? Ustadh Khurram mentions, in The Early Hours, that in our times of solitude, our environment and our companions are, along with a few other things, a compilation of the ideas and thoughts we have in our minds, and they are the compilation of books that we read. SubhanAllah.
If we harbor good thoughts and good ideas, they will influence us.
In developing a proper environment that motivates us to discuss and develop ideas, we need to first make sure our inner mind is good company to have.
If we are able to eliminate some of the above issues—from lack of confidence to hindering societal factors—and we work on our ideas with enthusiasm, positivity and perseverance, we’ll be doing the world a huge favor. The world is an accumulation of thoughts; if we are simply accepting the world as is, we are not really adding much to it. The world needs more people to develop new ideas to tackle the various problems that are waiting to be solved, from family life to government and politics.
We can all become thinkers in our own rights; we all have the potential to develop good ideas that can have lasting impacts on our society. The world right now is facing so many different problems, it’s literally calling for us to make our marks and develop solutions. Other than making du’a, which is very good to do especially this month of Ramadan, we need to take advantage of our time and discuss ideas, develop them, and be a source of benefit for our society.
I write this as a reminder to myself, first and foremost, since I have much work to do on myself, regarding the above points, along with others, before I share these thoughts with you all.
I wanted to end with a short disclaimer: I am not claiming I know anything about this matter at all. I have no credentials in idea-development, if you will. I am simply sharing some thoughts – which have been the result of about 4-5 years of experience in failed entrepreneurial ventures, Alhamdulillah. As the old saying goes, I have learned a great deal from my mistakes. Just my two-cents and I pray this serves some benefit inshaAllah.
Featured photo: “Idea Bulb,” © 2009 Ramunas Geciauskas, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en