To the outsider looking in, it may appear that the highly motivated, inspired, successful people seem to be the ones with the best, most innovative, ideas.  The truth is, everyone can develop their creative thinking skills and become an idea-generating machine.

I’m living proof of that. While I’m only 30, in my younger days I struggled with the idea of considering myself a “creative thinker”.  It wasn’t so much an issue with a lack of ideas, as a lack of confidence behind them and the ability to determine which were good and which were bad.

You’ve probably even had some idea you may have deemed brilliant at one time or another.  We’re all full of ideas, and often the more we allow ourselves to think creatively, the more ideas we’ll have.

The key is knowing which ones to put action to and which ones should be laid to rest.

After trial and error in my own life, and walking through both failures and successes here are three questions I ask myself before taking my next course of action with a fresh idea.

Question 1:
What’s the worst that could happen?

While, obviously, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by the fear of what could potentially go wrong, this is an important and healthy question to ask yourself.  It’s good to know what’s at stake so you know if it’s a risk worth taking.  For example, if you’re idea is contemplating starting a new business, ask yourself this question.  The answer could range from “I’d be out of some time and a little bit of money.” to “I’d go bankrupt, lose my home, and be on the street.”  Obviously, those are two very different levels of risk.  The point is to understand what the risk actually is.  Just because the risk may be too high for you to take action now, doesn’t mean the idea has to be forever dismissed.  Perhaps you can begin to position yourself financially so that it’s not such a high risk.

Question 2:
What’s the best thing that could happen?

This question may seem obvious, and of course the dreamers out there have no trouble imagining the potential greatness of their ideas.  However, it’s important to approach this question not just from the dreamer within you, but also from a logical standpoint.  Have supporting reasons that your idea could reach this imagined status of success.  Consider the facts and figures.  Do your research.  Evaluate the competition.  Ponder the resources it will take to not only launch, but maintain the momentum.

Question 3:
Which is the most likely to happen?

Once you’ve contemplated the worst potential consequences of failure as well as the best potential successes, you should ask yourself which of those scenarios is the most likely to occur if you were to put action to your idea.

What to do with the answers to these questions:

If your answer to number one happened, and you believe you could come out of it in a healthy way (deeming it a risk worth taking)

AND

If the most likely of number one and number two to happen is number two, then you’ve got an idea that’s worth further exploration and development!