Saturday, August 05, 2006

A creative exercise: spotting no action in an action

This is a creative exercise I like. I name an action and consider how that action is not occurring. It's a very good creative challenge and helps to uncover some unusual focuses. I use the format:

When (action) is occurring how is (action) not occurring?

So with the action "running" I consider:

When I am running how am I not running?

I try to name about ten ways that the action is not occurring -- even if they are only applicable to a slight degree or a bit of a cheat.

1) At times my elbows are kind of traveling in the opposite direction
2) As I'm running I'm getting nearer to the end of my run (when I'll be not running)
3) As my feet hit the floor my shoe soles stay on the floor for a moment
4) My mind can be elsewhere -- I'm daydreaming about anything other than running!
5) I'm not flat out -- so I'm nearer to stopping than I could be
6) If I'm looking at something in the distance I don't perceive my movement as much
7) If I were watching the action from outer space the turn of the earth would seem to cancel out any movement
8) Sometimes my shoe soles will slip an imperceptible amount, thus making me closer to falling than running
9) There will be some fluctuations in my pace: sometimes I will speed up slightly, sometimes slow down
10) If I'm breathing heavily then my attention may be on my breathing rather than the actual running

Another example

Action = watching television.
When I'm watching television how am I not watching television?

1) I blink
2) Sometimes I will be distracted by something in the room
3) I will reach for the remote control to view teletext
4) My mind can wander off while I'm watching
5) I won't pay as much attention if there's a commercial break
6) I won't pay much attention to the breaks between programmes
7) If it's getting late my thoughts may be turning to sleep
8) It's impossible to give the TV one hundred percent attention
9) I'm partially aware of my surroundings: is the phone ringing? Is someone at the door?
10) The size of the screen is actually quite small; if it were bigger than naturally the TV would receive more attention from me.

1 comment:

John's Ideas and Creativity said...

I've got to thinking if this challenge would be a great opener for a brainstorming session (like the mighty "name as many uses for a paperclip as you can") or even a test of creativity. What ye think?