Look! Did You See It?

— Andy Wade —

Imagination and creativity are core elements of what we’re about here at Mustard Seed Associates. A big part of stimulating both is the ability to see differently. This is an active process we need to consciously engage in every day. Our tendency is to miss the obvious, the “normal” in our lives, because our brains filter out the extra information faster than we can recognize that something cool is going on.

In this follow-up post to yesterday’s Brain Rut, I want to look at this again with a Ted Talk brought to us by Destin Sandlin of Smarter Everyday. This is quite the entertaining video with an important message: we need to train ourselves to look for the unexpected in the everyday occurrences of life. After the video I’ve listed five ways to stimulate discovering the unexpected in the everyday.

Ideas to Revive Our Ability to See and Imagine

  • Walk out into your yard or a park and just start looking. Look intently (but don’t scare the children). What’s going on that you never noticed before?
  • Grab your camera! One of my favorite exercises in seeing the unexpected is to look through the camera lens, often on the macro setting (super close-up). I find the frame of the camera filters out surrounding distractions and helps me focus in on one small area. Can you find images of redemption in the concrete jungle? How about beauty even in garbage? This kind of “re-framing” also helps to reframe my perspective, unlocking my mind from the status quo and helping me to think more creatively.
  • Take a trip to the park with a child (again, don’t be creepy, make sure it’s your own or you have permission). Watch them and see how they explore the world around them. I think we not only need to come to Christ as a child but also to God’s creation with that same posture. There is a sense of wonder, exploration, and imagination we tend to lose over time. Playing with children can help us re-learn how to see the world with eyes filled with anticipation.
  • Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn more about but never had the time? Make time! Learning new things in one area can actually help unlock our brains in other areas. For me, I find it’s helpful to not just do this intellectually by reading a book or watching a video, but by physically getting involved in what I’m learning.
  • Navigate to our Godspace website and check out the great resources there on creativity and creativity in prayer.
  • Join with us in creating Mustard Seed Village, our project to launch a cooperative center for imagination and creativity.

How do you cultivate imagination and creativity in your life? Please take a minute to share you ideas in the comment section below.

Destin SandlinDiscovery often happens outside your comfort zone. It’s when you step out into the unknown that interesting discoveries start to take place. When they do, it’s your responsibility to share the knowledge with society.    – Destin Sandlin