What do you do with articles you find and other interesting reading material?
Collect it and let it gather dust? Read it once and never touch it again? Read it through multiple times in hopes the information sticks?
Chances are, you’re not actually learning as much as you want to be from your collection of reading material. If you’re like me, you might even be completely aware of this and struggling to cut it out.
Well, here’s the secret: Active Ideation.
Active Ideation is the practice of actively engaging with your reading materials by highlighting and commenting on the material as you read it, then later creating new notes based on your highlights and comments and creating new ideas.
For example: say you found a great article on The Meaning Of Life and you’re intrigued. As you’re reading through it, you start to highlight the parts that stand out most and then relate it to something else you know to be true, or something you’re curious about. “This section makes me think of this thing I heard the other day.”
You continue to do that throughout the article, then you come back and write a summary of the connections you made while reading and highlighting and commenting. Now you have a new article all about your own ideas regarding this topic you just read, and it only took you a few minutes longer than simply reading the article and tucking it away.
Active Ideation helps you quickly process materials and work ideas into your own words in a way that helps you relate to other things you may have learned. This helps you grow a library of actual knowledge – not just random online articles.
The best part of all of this is that you are working your brain to think creatively and to relate multiple concepts to each other. This is obviously extremely helpful in the legal industry where you need to recall past cases, laws, loopholes, etc. But it is also beneficial to your everyday life and conversations.
When practicing Active Ideation, you begin to understand how to take others’ thoughts and grow your own thoughts. Growing your own thoughts (and collecting them instead of articles written by others) works your creativity, your thoughtfulness, and adds more value to your relationships with yourself and others.