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We can practice and improve the core of creativity every minute of every day. In fact, we are wired for that.
It was 1941. A man was hiking with his dog in the woods. Thousands of people had probably taken the same route before him, enjoying the beautiful scenery. This man himself might have hiked in the same woods dozens of times before. But this day was different. This day he noticed something that many had ignored or took for granted before. This day he stopped to wonder, observe and imagine. During his walk, George de Mestral noticed the burrs that clung to his clothes and to his dog’s fur. But unlike many others, he wondered why this happens. What is it in the burrs that made them cling? Unlike numerous people before him (and probably also after) he didn’t take it for granted. The result of that hike was the invention of VelcroⓇ, which replicates the structure George de Mestral discovered as the reason the burrs clung to his clothes.
The Core of Creativity
We often wonder about the nature of creativity. What triggers the creative process? Can it be structured or formulated? Can we teach people to be creative? In this article I would like to focus on one basic trait that is often neglected in the discussion on creativity, but which I believe is the core of any creative process: the ability to observe and see the world differently.
Think about it: nothing can be created from void. Any creation, any original thought, any dream, vision, hope, desire, or feeling is a product of hundreds, thousands, or millions of pieces of information: experiences, memories, or things we saw, smelled, or touched. Our mind is like a grand machine taking all this raw material, filtering it, disassembling it, reconstructing it again, until something new is created.
An essential key to creativity is, therefore, our ability to mindfully look around us; to collect these bits of raw material, and have the ability (and the motivation) to look at them from different angles, explore them, and never ever take anything for granted.
The truth is most of us are voluntarily blind to what is around us most of the time. We filter out so much of this potential raw material. We either don’t see it at all, or we take it for granted. We are either staring at the closest available screen or just minding our own business and trying to get from one place to another as quickly as possible.
In our own lives, it wasn’t always like that. As children, we all had natural curiosity. Children observe the world with wonder. They take nothing for granted. They question everything, and at the same time they play with everything. My one-year-old toddler can ignore a case full of fancy toys just to pick up an empty cereal box, examine it from any possible angle, wonder what sound it makes, and eventually even taste it (the box that is). Older children will easily find something creative to do with it, whether it is something imaginary, or a tangible creative work. But several years later, when we grow up, we see the same empty cereal box as something very concrete destined only to be recycled.
So, can we relearn to see the world differently? Can we regain this ability to spot wonderful things we can later use for imagining and creating? Could this be something you never really forget, just like riding a bike? My answer is absolutely Yes!
To See the World Differently
Let’s do a fun exercise. I’m taking a risk here, but one minute from now I would like you to stop reading this article and come back to it later today (but only if you promise to). Just before you do that, I’m offering you a magic Seed that will help you see things differently.
Read this Seed and memorize it, but don’t overthink it. In fact, don’t think about it at all. Just keep it in mind wherever you go and whatever you do next. For the rest of the day, look around you with this Seed in mind. Look for things (not people) which are smiling. Sooner or later you will see them. They are all around you, and chances are that you always saw them, but never really noticed them before.
Try it and you will experience what every child does: the pure joy of discovery - of seeing things for the first time and building layers of imagination on top of them. And that’s just one Seed. Imagine what it would be like to practice and regain this natural ability on a daily basis, each time with a different pair of magical glasses that help you see the world differently. Imagine how it feels to walk in the street, sit in the office, or stand in line, and see things most people don’t. It’s the most fundamental thing you can do to practice creativity, it’s effortless (though not always easy), and it’s pure fun!
seempli is a revolutionary new game designed to help you do just that. It provides you with hundreds of open challenges you can do anytime and anywhere. There’s no right or wrong answer; just an invitation to look around you, explore the world, and try seeing it differently.
The best part of this daily practice is the cumulative effect it has. You train your eyes and mind to always look for new things, and to imagine how they could be applied in a different context or when looked at from a different angle. Soon it becomes second nature, and you apply it to any situation: when facing a technical problem, when looking for a creative solution, and even when you seek to understand other people better. And that is essentially the core of being creative.
Creativity starts with observing the world, exploring it from different angles, and then imagining and creating using this raw material. It is what each and every one of us did from the minute we became aware of our surroundings, long before we had the capability to fully understand what we see. But it is up to us to maintain (or regain) this ability. The good news is that our senses and our mind are already wired for that. We just need to ignite our natural curiosity. And there’s no better way to do that than a fun game that literally makes you smile.
Find out more at seempli.com.
Lidor Wyssocky (@LidorWyssocky) is a fine-art photographer and the creator of seempli - a revolutionary game for igniting creativity and learning to see the world differently.
Lidor’s visual artworks, which are focused on the things hundreds and thousands of people pass by in the street every day, led him to create seempli to inspire people to practice creative observation on daily basis.
Using seempli Lidor works with people, teams, and organizations seeking to develop and enhance their creativity.