Not knowing when you are going to get that breakthrough idea is what makes creativity equally magical and frustrating. Bringing yourself closer to creating something innovative and useful requires the cooperation between two contrasting states: controlled and uncontrolled thinking.
To create this synergy, you need to begin by being like a sponge and soaking up as much relevant information as possible. The more information you have, the more interesting and original connections you’re likely to make later on.
Once you feel like you’ve got all the information you need, you can start coming up with ideas. The Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling once said, “If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away.” If you find yourself worrying that it is hard to tell between the bad ones and the good ones, don’t worry: you are still warming up and your best ideas have yet to come. Don’t be too judgmental about the first batch.