habit zero #009

the challenge


It’s exploration day and the Seed I randomly picked is the Tornado Seed. It is one of those Seeds that creates a vivid picture in your mind — you know how a tornado looks like, but where are you going to find one today?

That the title of the Seed is very concrete and non-abstract might seem helpful, but in fact it makes the exploration assignment more challenging. If I really want to surprise myself, I might just need to break free from the image I have in my mind.

my insight


When I started my walk I instinctively looked at the sky. It was partly cloudy with light white clouds. Nothing that could qualify even remotely as a tornado. Which was perfect really, because an Insight focused on clouds would have been too easy (and let’s be honest, not really surprising).

The first thing I noticed when I started my walk is this sign. I probably saw a similar sign hundreds of times before when crossing the road, but today this abstract man seemed to be running a way from something or from somewhere. Maybe from a disaster zone…

After several minutes of walking, I noticed these pieces of shattered glass. Was this the result of a blizzard?

I was satisfied with these two findings but as often happens this is when I found the Insight that made me smile — the Insight that felt like I am able to shape reality with the Seed I am thinking of. It was a painting someone left lying in the street — a painting of a white broken leaf-less tree on a background of deep-purple sky. Any other day I might not have noticed it, or I might have thought of it as a tree in a calm autumn day. But today, with the Tornado Seed in my mind, I just knew it was the painting of a tree that has just barely survived the storm.



Whether some pieces of shattered glass or a running man are the first things that come to your (or my) mind when you (or me) think about a tornado is not relevant. When I saw these insights, I immediately connected them with a tornado. And even more important, I noticed something I wouldn’t have without actively looking around me.

The painting Insight is a great example of how a simple thing can be open to infinite interpretations. When you consider it was just waiting there in the street, it is a cool finding by itself. But the Tornado association makes it far more interesting — it unfolds one possible story behind this object. Or, when you think of it, it might unfold at least two possible stories. The first is the story within the painting: the story of the tree surviving the storm. But another option is that it was the painting that had survived the storm, and that’s how it found its way to the street.

And it is mind-games as this one that make the creative exploration both effective and fun. It leads your mind in unexpected paths — sometimes in different paths in parallel. It creates unexpected connections between different things which in turn enable new creations — the stories we imagine and the ideas we conceive.

mental notes


  • Unfold the stories being things you see.
  • Aim to be surprised even when everything directs you towards things you are used to see.

now it is your turn… be creative!



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