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Surprising Science

How to Recognize Your Best Ideas

Even people hailed as geniuses have plenty of mediocre and outright terrible ideas. What separates them from the rest is their ability to filter the good from the bad. How do they do it?

What’s the Latest Development?

Not every idea you have is going to be a winner. That is a rule of the creativity game. Even people hailed as visionaries and geniuses have mediocre outputsometimes it is outright terrible. But new research suggests a trick to identifying your best ideas and shelving those that just won’t work. A study that measured people’s ability to separate their mediocre ideas from their good ones found that taking a small break before getting down to work made a big difference when it came time to discern between good, bad and mediocre ideas.

What’s the Big Ideas?

Not every thought just off the presses is really worthy of publication. What often makes a genius is the ability to ‘reject, sift, transform and order’. Here, distraction can come with real benefits, allowing the unconscious to sort through all the components of a new idea. Further research into how people identify good ideas found that those who took a break to do something they enjoyed were even better at filtering out the duds. “Taking a break is important. But make sure you do something that makes you happy.”

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