The Ten-Minute Yes

I am going to give you an incredibly powerful tool for brainstorming, mentality, and creativity. I call it the “Ten-Minute Yes.”

Here’s the problem that everyone has: we reject things. Instantly, without thought, and without useful awareness. Someone gives you a suggestion or you become aware of an option and your brain says “no” almost on autopilot. Your gut instinct is sometimes good, but that doesn’t mean it’s especially informative. So when you reject things too quickly, you cut off avenues of creativity.

Here’s the solution: the next time someone suggests something to you when you’re feeling stuck, or the next time your search for a solution hits a potential option, don’t reject it – even if you feel like you know it’s wrong. Instead, set a timer for ten minutes.

During that ten minutes, live in a world of make-believe where you not only don’t reject that idea, you have fully and 100% embraced it as the solution you will choose.

When the ten minutes is up, you can go back to the real world. But for that ten minutes, don’t say “if.” Just look at “how.”

Want an example? You’re looking for a new job, but every job listing you see looks bad to you, so you’re getting frustrated. A friend jokes, “run away and join the circus.”

Set the timer! For just ten minutes, say “Okay, I’ve committed to joining a circus. Now – what will I do in the circus? Will I be a performer or one of the supporting team members? Which circus is the best? How will I apply – let me look up their website. Oh neat, they actually have a career page…”

When the timer goes off, you’re probably not going to join the circus (though you might, who knows?). But you will have generated a dozen useful ideas for your progress. Giving yourself permission for this temporary engagement frees your mind from a commitment and allows for positive play. That, in turn, lets the creative juices flow.

When the ten minutes is over, if you don’t join the circus – you’ll know why. Because you actually explored the idea, you’ll have more insight into what features of the potential solution didn’t meet your needs. That gives you direction and allows you to shape your future searches for solutions in a meaningful way.

So if you’re looking for a solution to anything and you’re feeling stuck, give this a try. The most you have to lose is ten minutes – but you have a lot to gain!

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