Shalu Wasu | Jan 14, 2010
Once upon a time, many years ago, in prehistoric times, at a time when there were no cities, no¬†buildings and perhaps even no villages, there was a hunter. He had had a successful day and was walking through a forest back to his tribe. He had slung a deer across his shoulder with some homemade rope. He was walking fast because it was close to evening. He came across a branch of tree lying on the ground. He casually picked it up and held it in his other hand for support. To his surprise, the branch was not as sturdy as some of the other sticks he had used for walking. It was a bit flexible. Whenever he put his weight on the stick, it bent a little. The hunter kept walking but did not throw away the branch. Then, suddenly he stopped. Something occurred to him. On an impulse, he threw down the deer, freed the rope, picked up the branch and looked at his rope again. He examined them for a moment and tied the two ends of the branch with the rope, thus inventing the bow. The hunter saw the connection between two seemingly unconnected things. He saw something which no one else had seen. He saw something which he himself had never seen before.
A branch of a tree is a branch of a tree. It has certain uses and that is that. A piece of rope is a piece of rope. It has certain uses and that is that. The preconceived notions about the branch of a tree and the piece of rope prevent us from seeing more into these objects and find some new connection. When we are free from our preconceptions, we have fresh perception and new possibilities open up in our thinking. That is what creativity is about ‚Äì having fresh perceptions.
That fellow saw something which nobody else had seen. There are so many invisible connections around us and connections between hitherto unrelated things can be the source of new ideas!
Creativity is about making connections ‚Äì as we saw in the example of the hunter. The ability to see a connection between seemingly unrelated things is a big advantage.
In everyday life we use metaphors to make connections between unrelated things. Metaphors are used to explain complex situations in an easy manner. Many metaphors are parts of our everyday usage – root of problem, heart of city. Most of us now recognize our heart as a ‚Äòpump‚Äô but that is a metaphor as well. Mind map is a metaphor! Metaphors help to communicate complex ideas in a short and sweet manner. A computer is a metaphor for our brain. It is so popular that we talk of processing power and our memory being short term or long term even though the way our brain works is very different from how the PC does. It helps to take ideas from one context and apply them to another context.
Metaphors provide us with a new way of looking at things. It is like watching a Manchester United Vs Liverpool match on TV with only ONE CAMERA feed and then suddenly we have more camera feeds as well! The two experiences are incomparable. Using metaphors provides us with new insights, leading to more ideas and better decisions.
Try and provide 5 different answers to each one of the following statements/questions.
And I am really looking forward to hearing what you have to say on this one:
Smoking a cigarette is like talking to your mother in law because…