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[Image: 20150825160807-light-bulb-idea-inspiration.jpeg]

To become successful at anything, you've got to practice discipline. You must do something over and over and over again to do it extremely well. And being creative is no exception.
For James Altucher, the American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur and bestselling author, discipline is key. Of the more than 20 companies he has founded or cofounded, 17 have failed, but three of them have made him tens of millions of dollars.
He’s an equally prolific writer, with 17 titles to his name, including The Power of No. Reading about Altucher in Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss’ latest book, inspired me. Ferriss writes how he’s never seen anyone build a large, committed readership faster than Altucher has.
If you can't generate ten ideas, Altucher says, you need to focus on generating 20. How? By doing the work. To start developing your “idea muscle,” write down ten of your ideas every morning on your tablet or in a tiny notebook, Altucher recommends.
Regular practice is more important than the nature of the ideas themselves, because what you really need is the confidence you can create on demand. Don't expect your ideas to be perfect; perfectionism is your enemy.
But do understand what's going on here: As Altucher explains, your brain is trying to protect you from coming up with an idea that is embarrassing and stupid and could cause you to suffer. Yet, with a little effort, you can override this impulse by coming up with bad ideas.
Altucher's perspective on discipline reminds me of another prolific writer I know, my friend and fellow contributor Daniel DiPiazza of Rich20Something. For some time now, DiPiazza has begun each of his days by writing, because he knows that doing so makes him mentally tough. It also works: In just a few months, his first book -- the result of a six-figure deal -- will hit the market.
More entrepreneurs need to embrace this notion: that you don’t need to be great. You just need to do.
Not only will you get better at that specific thing . . . you’ll be able to apply discipline to the other aspects of your life you want to improve.
I learned how closely discipline and creativity are intertwined early on in my career. For years, I wrote my ideas in a notebook every day, to exercise my creative muscle. At first, it was hard to focus for any length of time. But I had to do it. If I had waited for inspiration to strike, I’d have gone broke. That much was clear: I needed to figure out how to be in command of my creativity -- to make it work for me.

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