The 'Gold Mine' method for harvesting good ideas

Last Updated:
April 1, 2020
First Published:
April 1, 2020
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Just 5 ideas per day can lead you to riches!


An old pioneer in the field of Self-Improvement was a man called Earl Nightingale (also a marine who survived the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor!)

I used to listen to some of his original recordings at times when I felt particularly aimless in my own life.

Earl talked at great lengths about the process of turning one's desires from formless visions into concrete reality.

But there was ONE PIECE of advice I got from Earl which has served me time and time again when I needed to come up with useful ideas.

Here it is...

Use "that Gold Mine between your ears"

Well, what does he mean, exactly by 'Gold Mine'?

Let me show you real quick.

Here's Earl's suggestion for using your own Gold Mine to build a library full of ideas (good and bad ones).

  1. Try to come up with just five ideas every morning, writing them down somewhere you can save them
  2. These ideas can be related to a specific project, your work, or any other area of your life
  3. Keep this "living" list of these ideas in a special idea file or folder
  4. Many, perhaps most of your ideas will be WORTHLESS
  5. But, some of them will be VERY GOOD
  6. A few will be EXCELLENT
  7. Every once in a while you’ll come up with something REALLY OUTSTANDING.

Last time I checked, my Gold Mine list of ideas was in the THOUSANDS and is sure to hit 10,000+ someday.

And yeah, most of my ideas are lousy and I'll never touch them again.

But they're all there. And even this very message is a matured version of an old bullet point from my Gold Mine list. Let's call it a "very good" idea, for what it's worth.

In closing, let's look at two simple secrets to good ideas from Seth Godin:

  1. "The more bad ideas the better"
  2. When in doubt, "come up with good ideas for someone else"

Will you start mining for good ideas more often?

YouTube video of the original Earl Nightingale program Change Your Life in 19 Minutes.

Text transcript of Change Your Life in 19 Minutes, by Earl Nightingale.

colton james townsend smiles for the camera with the seattle port in the background

Colton James Townsend

Storyteller and Teacher at, "Fearless Story Productions" and "Wake Up & Do Me"

I live, work, and write in the fine city of Walla Walla, Washington. I help creative people and business owners publish stories and content for the web so they can achieve results online, personally and professionally. You're an expert in your field or a person with a strong story to tell — I help you broadcast your knowledge and experiences effectively. The results? Amplification.

MISSION: "Bringing Your Brilliance to the Whole Wide World"