habit zero #081

the challenge


Today we are playing with a special challenge. To start with, it is seedless.

Here’s the deal: you need to pick an object — something you can actually see in front of you or maybe even pick up — and describe it as if this is the first time you see it.

For obvious reasons, I chose… my keyboard. Now, I’m working hard trying to ignore the fact that I am using it, and treat it as a strange, unfamiliar object.

Let’s see…

my insight


It’s a strange-looking device with a few rows of pressable keys with letters and symbols on them, arranged in an enigmatic order.

The sound created when pressing the keys can bother some people, but it has a strange meditative quality, especially when the pressing is repeated at high speed. Which makes me wonder if this device might be used for some sort of meditation or ritual — one in which you press the keys in a certain order that creates words and phrases while drowning into the sound they make.

Or…. or maybe it is am espionage gadget designed for communicating leaving no trace and without being heard. Imagine sitting in front of someone using the keys to write words and sentences without them being written anywhere. If you follow their movements on the keyboard, you can read what they write, and no one can listen to it or find any trace of it later.



It’s been a strange exercise, and unlike the other seempli challenges we’ve been doing in the past three months. True, in almost all past challenges we’ve seen things differently — adding some new meaning or context to the way we see them normally. But with the Discovery Channel I Prism, I had to force myself to forget (or ignore) what I know about this strange object in front of me.

In retrospect, the first thing I did was to detach it from the device it is always connected to. I had to forget that a keyboard is usually a device that does not stand by itself — it is always used with a PC or a laptop. So, the first step was to think of it as a stand-alone device, which immediately made it more intriguing: what on earth can this be used for if it is not connected to anything.

So I thought about the keyboard’s attributes. When not working on my laptop I use a mechanical keyboard, and as anyone who has worked on one knows it has a very distinct sound. Can this be something to focus on?

It’s also impossible to ignore the letters carved or painted on the keys. But if this is a stand-alone device, not connected to a display or any other output device and not connected to any power source, what could these letters be used for?

I used these two attributes as touch-points — hooks I can use to imagine an alternate description of the keyboard as well as an alternate use for it. Focusing on these two traits allowed me to ignore the “real story” of the keyboard — what I know about this device for years. It ignited my imagination.

mental notes


  • When you aim to see something differently, try to detach it from its natural context.
  • When you aim to see something differently, select a few touch-points and focus on them. Try to create a story connecting them while ignoring what you already know about what’s in front of you.
  • You can apply this to objects, places, people, or real-world challenges and opportunities you are wishing to address.

now it is your turn… be creative!



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