How to think like a Genius? 5 Thinking Tools

"Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them." - David Allen

I have been in this purposeful journey to perfect myself. Being efficient and effective with what I have been doing; doing things better than what is being done now.

However it is hard to get away without having an organized thinking models to help you navigate through it.

I have been experimenting with quite a bit of mind tricks that helped me sharpen my thinking axe. I have found success in using and I suggest you to try it out as well.

Tool#1: Freewriting

This is an interesting trick that I learnt from positioning guru and ideation expert, Mark Levy in his book, ‘Accidental Genius’. As the sub-title of the book says ‘Using Writing to generate your Best Ideas, Insight and Content’ – is exactly what freewriting can help you with. Mark Levy says that Freewriting could be the answer to capture extraordinary ideas, treasure in your mind. Freewriting is a deceptively simple technique. Simply stated it is writing about what you care without caring for grammar, punctuation and silence the internal editor. And bring out the inner genius out. It is letting the defensive mechanism of the conscious mind down and let the connection with the unconscious mind happen.

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I have been using this by opening a blank word document and typing in whatever comes to my mind with lead topic/ theme/ a question. Subsequently once I do the thought dump/ min dump, I revisit it the document after sometime and read it and re-read it to cull out ideas, content for my blog and even gain insight into my own thinking process. In fact, that is how I was able to articulate the different types of thinking tools that I have been using during my writing exercise.

You can read the detailed summary of the book, ‘Accidental Genius’ here.

Tool #2: List Making

I have written about making a to-do list in increasing one’s productivity and efficiency. In a way, list making could be defined as freewriting with purpose and structure. In fact, Mark Levy has written a ebook and workbook on List making. As he states, list-making can help you coax unarticulated and half-remembered ideas and help you see and understand things better.

Tool #3: Mind Mapping

A fun and interesting to way to brainstorm and organise thought around a topic. I have been seriously using the technique and so inspired that I even started a blog – Mind-Mapped.


The key part of this technique is to branch out sub-ideas from the main idea and see the possibility enlightening. List making would even suffice. However our brain doesn’t think linearly or spits out idea in a linear fashion. Instead mind mapping captures idea as the brain spits out in parallely branched items and being faithful in not losing any idea to slip away. And as a theme, the best thing about mind mapping is that it gives a screenshot of a thought/ train of thought in one single page however disarrayed it may be. I have been using it to ideate, organize thoughts. It is basically organizing lateral thinking in our mind and put it in organized thought process. mOre so it captures ideas in compartments/ boxes as it comes. Brain doesn’t wait for you to move to the next topic to throw you ideas. It comes and simply vanishes before you notice.

Tool #4: Note taking/ Commonplace

An interesting way that I study a book. I take notes from the best of the books and note it down in my notebook. The first book that I wrote about is E.F.Schumacher’s Good work and later ‘One Straw Revolution’ by Masanbu Fakuoka. Validated by Ryan Holiday where he maintains an array of quotes, notes that he has taken from reading books. I love this trick.

Tool #5: Point of Reference

Dr.Covey talks about being principle-centred, not anything else. I think each one has an individual religion, a code of conduct, an overarching purpose, a greater good which we ourselves use to validate our action – both good and bad and others neutral. I would prefer each of you to develop this code of conduct/ manners/ values to follow in one’s life. It is not that we don’t have it. It is simply that we haven’t deliberately thought about it framing it. Being aware of our code of conduct helps us. For example, I simply have a code of conduct to maintain 100% professionalism in my work, so i usually don’t take time to free talk, gossip or even socialise (which is also an expression of my introverted temperament).

We don’t need a machine to solve our problems. Our decisions taken day-to-day in itself is enough to make our life the best. Use the above tools in your life to sharpen you thinking.

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