Archive for March, 2007

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Creative Visualization

March 21, 2007

Books and books have been written about visualization. A simple yet powerful tool that should be incorporated in our daily activities, yet only few utilize those extra brain cells that are readily available for our disposal. Marathon runners visualize the yellow tape during their daily jogs, and performers hear the applause and see the standing ovation to their act while they are still learning the script.

There is no real magic in perfecting this tool, only practice. There can also be more to visualization than the end result. What about the road to this end? Can this benefit from our imagination? And the planning for this road trip, can we apply creativity there? Certainly we can.

Visualizing our destination

Starting with the end in mind, think about your dream, what is the goal you wish to accomplish? This has to be a real need. Something you want so badly that you’re doing everything you can to achieve it. You crave a promotion at work, or dream of having a family. Or perhaps you wish to climb the highest mountain in your country. Whatever it is, it needs to be so close to your heart for it to create passion.

Now imagine that moment when you do accomplish this goal. What does it feel like? What do you see? Hear? Smell? Think detail!

If it is the promotion, see the color of your new suit; smell the new car you promised yourself; look through your third eye at the big window in your new office, when do you see? Burn your tongue sipping the coffee that morning.

Is it a family you desire? Imagine your partner’s smile in the morning; the first smile of your baby, the smell of the diaper in your hand. All the walks, drives and hugs you are planning to do. Live the dream.

You get the picture. That picture should be so real in your mind that you are living it. Repeat it regularly and daily if possible.

Now you can not stop there. Dreams don’t come by themselves. Get ready to work extra hard to accomplish your goal. The difference is that your goal is no more a wish, it is real in you and you will be able to see the opportunities that come to you that you might otherwise miss. Those opportunities may not come directly as you imagine, but subtly through other events. That promotion may never come to you at your current work, but the lady you meet at the subway might just be the ticket to your new office. Think about it.

Problem visualization

Let us say you have a specific challenge you are facing, at work or in life. One way you can solve it is to imagine how the problem is traveling to you!!

If the electricity is cut from one room in your house, and the light bulb works fine, imagine yourself as one of the electrons traveling through the wires to complete the circle. Where and why would you stop?

In that sense, if you put the content of your problem into another context, you will change the way you think about it, hence open new doors to solving it. Einstein for example, imagined he was riding a beam of light traveling through space, which led him to the theory of relativity.

Try to imagine yourself as some part of the problem and try to see the situation from this new perspective. Immerse with the challenge and ask yourself:

What would I say if I am the book I am trying to understand?

What recommendation would it make this machine I am trying to fix?

What would I feel if I am the idea being developed by my department?

Formulate your subject in as many different ways as possible, and think in terms of visual and spatial forms, rather than verbal lines of reasoning.

Visual brainstorming

Nowadays, we have limited our brainstorming results to words and logic, and further bounded it to the work place. This happened because part lack of time, and part lack of knowledge of brainstorming etiquette.

Although creativity is found in each one of us, some has it more developed and utilized. Those people will use a great diversity of graphic means in shaping and telling their thoughts. Diagrams, maps, icons or sculptures can all be added to our brainstorming list. Ideas – unlike what we most think – can be exclusively drawn, thus eliminating words and giving access to those ideas to travel around the globe as fast as a click away. Think open source technology and FireFox. The great composer John Corigliano, creator of The Ghosts of Versailles, prepares his music not by notes, but by sketching his thoughts, sometimes using abstract shapes.

The basic idea is to draw a sketch of how the problem might be solved, after that you may wish to revise, modify, or re-do it. Finally, construct a final solution from one or parts of the sketches.

A group exercise can be developed with a problem in mind and 30 minutes in time.

Each participant with a piece of paper will sketch a solution (or visualize the end result). The papers then passed to the next person and they add, change or modify the concepts in those sketches. The circle continues and no talking is permitted until the time is up. The sketches then collected, discussed and ranked. Then a final solution is chosen.

We know more than we can tell in words. Think about this.

Randah Taher

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p.s Feel free to share with us your visualization efforts.