How many of you remember the time in your childhood when you were given drawing tasks. If you were not talented enough to compete with others, you ended up drawing some creatures that only you could understand. If you were good in drawing, then there may be some other areas like writing, painting, acting, etc where you had to fight with your creative skills.
The lack of talent probably pulls you down into thinking that maybe you are not good enough and some things are inborn and you don’t have it. It is a common plight when it comes to creativity. There is a belief that creative people are rare and creativity can’t be taught or developed. But, the notion is wrong; Creativity is not limited to art but can be applied to any sphere in life. And, you can train yourself to become creative.
So, what does one train to become creative? The obvious answer is the brain muscles. Like your daily workouts, if you exercise your brain muscles for 10 minutes every day, you will discover a sea of change in your creativity. It is possible by playing an interesting game to exercise you brain muscles daily.
The AND Technique:
The technique is fairly simple and can be played by a person of any age. It is called the AND technique. You can play it like a game. The idea is to expand a sentence or an idea by adding a suffix – ‘AND’. Then go on till you complete 10 minutes. Stop and review. You will surprise yourself.
If you are a busy person and your schedule is hectic, this technique works great. If you are working in an environment where everyone works on fixed instructions and creativity is not entertained, exercising this technique will evolve you to face troubles and challenges fearlessly and smartly. You will find yourself inventing imaginative methods to solve problems.
It is a mental game and you can play it alone or with a partner. The idea is to pick up two characters.
For example : The Old man and the Parrot.
Now, Imagine there’s an old man and a parrot. Add it by asking few questions –
Are they related?
How long are they staying together?
How old is the man? Is he healthy or is suffering from some ailment?
How does the parrot look like? Can it talk?
How did the old man find the parrot?
Do they share a happy relationship?
If you open the cage, will the parrot fly away?
Keep on asking questions however ridiculous it may be.
Now, come up with the answers. Don’t limit yourself into putting the answers. How crazy it may be, just put them into paper. Once you have laid the answers, add the word ’AND?’ Try to expand on the answer. For example,
One of the answer: The old man was 70 years old.
Now, add AND.
The old man was 70 years old and?
The old man was 70 years old and was lonely. And?
The old man was 70 years old and was lonely. His knees were weak so he couldn’t move. The parrot used to peep out from the window and tell him what is going in the outside world. But, the parrot would only tell the outside tales if he was fed green chilies everyday. One day the neighbour’s boy who used to bring chilies for the parrot, fell ill. The parrot refused to tell his stories anymore. The old man became restless. He felt blinded as the parrot was the only window to the outside world.
The stories like this will evolve in time. However childish or absurd it may sound, practice this exercise everyday for 10 minutes. It is not an exercise on storytelling but a daily routine to exercise your brain muscles with ideas that have no relevance to your daily work. Explore these stories into fantasies or horror themes. Don’t hesitate to play in the strangest of territories. All you need here is to add the ‘AND’ factor till the time runs out. Adding the little layers to the story and the relationship between two characters enriches your way of thinking. It pushes you to think differently. You wire your brain to explore your innovative and creative thinking.
You can either continue with the same story the next day or device a new story. The exercise need not be the old man and the parrot always. You could mull over:
The Cat and the Snake
The Fisherman and his Wife
The Bottle of Marmalade and the Shopkeeper
The Teacher and the Engine Driver
The Alien and the Orphan
The Lady and her Turtle
The Teenager and her Acne
You should not limit yourself into thinking two or more characters. Try to discover their possible relationships and their perfections and imperfections, whims and fancies and your brain will do the rest.
Playing this game will give great simulation to your brain. Before you are aware, you will start surprising yourself with some smart out of the box thinking in your daily life. So, daily flex your brain muscles and enjoy the appreciation of being known as a Creative Person.