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Children say the most creative things

news #design

As we get older our thinking becomes more constrained by what we believe to be possible.

It’s too easy to accept that something can’t be done, rather than trying to think of a solution to the problem.

I recently stumbled across a post on social media that shared a snippet from the 6 July 1898 edition of California’s Evening Sentinel. Tucked away at the bottom of page three was the following:

California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, <http://cdnc.ucr.edu>

“You just think something and then run a line around your think.”

What a wonderfully creative answer to the question, “what is drawing?” It got me thinking that we’d all benefit from channelling our four-year-old self.

My mum says that four-year-old me wanted to be a Transformer. I’d wear boxes on my arms and legs to get into character, refusing to respond unless addressed as Optimus Prime. When I grew up I was going to be the leader of the Autobots.

I didn’t know what was possible, which allowed my mind to conjure all kinds of possibilities. Similarly, my three-year-old daughter wants to be Spider-Man when she’s as big as daddy.

Faced with a problem, free yourself from what you think you know, and all the rules which govern what you can and can’t do. Define the problem in terms of what needs to be achieved, not in terms of what you consider to be a likely solution.

For instance, “I don’t have enough disposable income,” has a vast range of solutions such as cutting back on things you don’t use, switching to cheaper alternatives in the supermarket, or negotiating a pay rise.

If you begin with the problem, “How do I earn more?” you close off a world of possible solutions.

Sometimes being childish can be a good thing.