By Lidor Wyssocky (@LidorWyssocky, @seempli)
No, it’s not an error…
A long, long time ago, in a different lifetime, maybe even on a different planet, I used to walk to school and back every day. It wasn’t common back then for parents to give their kids a ride to school, the distance didn’t justify a school bus and let’s face it, we were all a lot less spoiled. It was a 20-minute walk, and I always followed the same route — two times a day, six days a week. On most days, I was walking alone — most of my friends came from other parts of the city. And needless to say, years ago on that remote planet (or alternate reality) nobody was dreaming yet of the 24/7 entertainment/distraction/ communication devices we carry with us today just so we won’t miss anything important.
So there I was, doing the same route every day and… (big surprise ahead, especially if you happen to be a kid today) enjoying every minute of it. I’m tempted to say this was the best part of my day — but that might be a bit too romantic. But it was undoubtedly the best way to start the day. Somehow, this 20-minute walk was never dull. Sometimes I would just let my mind wander, oblivious to the world around me. But in many of these walks, I found myself looking around me, even though I had seen the same view dozens or even hundreds of times before. Somehow I always managed to find something new that caught my eye.
Back to our little planet on the year 2018, most of us spend most of our time with a very narrow field of view focused on the nearest screen. Now, I don’t want to sound preachy. I am writing this post on my laptop, connected to my smartphone’s hotspot, and somewhere in my backpack I also have my Kindle. My point is that most of us just don’t realize what we are missing by waiting for something new to pop on our social feed. Let me show you…
I took this picture a few years ago on a pretty standard street in Tel-Aviv, where hundreds (or thousands) of people walk every day. When I showed it to my friends they were amazed. I got so many compliments on my “unique point of view” and my imagination. They all said it was so creative! The truth is, I was embarrassed. This photo was fun to take and fun to watch, but what was so unique about it? Was I the only one who saw this angle? Wasn’t this smile so apparent that anyone could have seen it? At some point, I even wondered if it was arranged like that, by design.
Unfortunately, today more than ever, most people won’t see it by default. Partly because our minds are used to seeing things as they are expected to be seen, and partly because our head is tilted in the wrong direction — looking for that screen.
In retrospect, it was in that moment that seempli was conceived.
So many organizations, companies, and education systems around the world acknowledge the need to be creative. Most of us know that we could greatly benefit from being more creative, both personally and professionally. And yet we don’t do enough to regain the core creative skills we were all born with. And the irony is, that it is so simple to start doing more. All you have to do is take a walk. Literally.
Creativity starts with the ability to see things differently — the ability to observe and then imagine. Nothing was ever created — physically or mentally — without someone first observing and then imagining. We start our journey in life with these abilities wired into our brains. Young children do both these things naturally. Unfortunately, these abilities gradually take a smaller part in our lives when we enter more structured systems and as our minds need to focus on other things. The good news is that re-igniting these abilities at any age is really easy to do, and requires mostly awareness and practice.
Here’s an exercise for you to try today. At some time during the day when you are outdoors, look around you and try to capture things that associatively remind you of… Romeo and Juliet.
You will probably start with the most immediate association for this Seed and look for couples. Fair enough. But as you play with this Seed more throughout the day, try also going for different aspects and associations.
The great thing about this exercise is that you don’t have to schedule some dedicated time for it on your calendar. Just do it in your dead-time: on the way to your car, or to the office, or if you are in school, during the break.
A couple of things will happen if you do this exercise mindfully. First, you will start to look around you (maybe instead of just straight ahead or on your smartphone screen). You are bound to discover things which will make you laugh or that will just surprise you, while dozens of people around you miss them. And if you practice similar creative exploration on a regular basis, your mind will become used to it. Your observation and imagination muscles will get stronger and more flexible with time. And that’s the essence of creativity.
If you are a teacher, the Walking Curriculum is a perfect way of applying this concept in school. Today, more than ever, investing in inspiring children to observe, imagine, and reconnect to the physical world around them is essential. When you combine the Walking Curriculum with seempli, you literally gain endless opportunities for inspiring your class (and be inspired yourself).
I believe that if you wish to change the world, you must start with changing the way you see the world. All you have to do is be aware of it, practice it, and have loads of fun while doing so.
Be creative. Change the world!
Lidor Wyssocky is a fine-art photographer and the creator of seempli – a revolutionary platform for igniting creativity and imagination in everything you do.