Finding a New Perspective is Child's Play

by Laura Koehne - Date: 2006-11-15 - Word Count: 615 Share This!

The wisdom of a preschooler may be just what you need to get unstuck! If you find yourself tangled in a problem that seems insurmountable, taking a playful, even ridiculous, look at the situation can give you the creative perspectives you need to move forward.

Watching my daughter the other night, I was amused to see her playing "computer" with my alarm clock. She was teaching her dolly to type on the alarm buttons and showing her the screen - a big red LCD with the time. When I asked her what she was doing she replied, "Working." (Yikes!)

Her play got me thinking. I would never have thought that the alarm looked like a computer. My adult eyes categorize those familiar things - alarm clock, laundry basket, shoe - and I see what I expect. But with less experience of the world, my two year old sees computers and boats and bowls. What are we missing by relying on our adult "knowledge" of the world?

In the '70s computer scientists at Xerox PARC, one of the world's foremost research and development facilities, involved children in the design of computer systems. An R&D lab doesn't seem like the place for kids, but observing how children interacted with computers inspired the researches to design the overlapping windows and graphical interface we take for granted on today's PCs. Talk about the power of fresh perspectives!

Adding a little child's play to your thought processes may offer you the fresh perspectives you need to inspire your life or projects. Following is an exercise that will help you imagine the possibilities. Enjoy!

Dare to Be Ridiculous!

Are you feeling stuck? It may be that you are locked into a rigid, dare I, way of looking at your situation. Take a hint from the preschool set and let your imagination roam. This light hearted exercise will have you thinking big in no time.

Use physical movement and pay attention to the feelings in your body to help you shift your thinking. And whatever you do, don't forget the ridiculous!

- Stand in the center of the room, breath deeply a few times, and think about your dilemma or a decision you'd like to make.

- How do you feel about this right now? Are you feeling stuck? Anxious? If this feeling you are having were a place, what would it be? A hectic train station, for instance, with too many different tracks? Or a dry, hot, desert with no one else around? What is your unique place? Label this perspective by the place you have identified.

- Now, turn 90 degrees to the right and take in the first thing that catches your eye. Imagine what this thing you've noticed would tell you about your decision. For example, seeing a telephone on the wall might make you think that the only way through your "wall of indecision" is to communicate your intentions fully. How does that perspective feel? What kind of place is this?

- Turn 90 degrees again, repeating the exercise. You will do this two more times. At the end, you will have your starting perspective and three fresh views.

- Finally, when you are back to the starting position, close your eyes and think of the most RIDICULOUS thing you possibly can. It might be anything - an ice cream cone, your dog, a trumpet - any idea that comes immediately to mind will work. Ask yourself what that crazy thing would tell you about your decision, how it makes you feel and what kind of place it is.

Now you're armed with five different perspectives. Which felt the best or most energizing to you? Which perspective will you adopt to help you move forward?

Related Tags: perspective, cumminicate, descisions

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