habit zero #084

the challenge


Today, we are looking for opposites — two things in the same frame, working perfectly together although they are opposites.

It’s a loose and open definition, but this just means we have a great opportunity to surprise ourselves.

my insight


I love party leftovers when they are out of context. The idea of party decorations after the party has finished already has an opposite embedded in it. And a day after the New Year’s celebrations ended is just the perfect time to find some treasures wondering if they will ever get another chance to make people happy.

So, I found this snowflake hanging outside a pub in front of a black backdrop. And apart from being a visual treasure, this Insight has so many opposites in it which makes it perfect for today’s challenge.

First, there are the colors. The white snowflake collides so nicely with the black cloth behind it. Why do they attract? Simply because they work perfectly together. Any other color for one of the two would have a lesser effect.

Then, there’s the texture. The cloth in the background seems smooth and silky. It seems to flow. The snowflake, on the other hand, seems pointy and sharp, not just because of its shape, but because of the little silvery decorations surrounding it. Again, these are opposites that work great together. They just make this frame more interesting to look at.

And finally, while the snowflake is floating — frozen in mid air — the cloth behind it seems heavy. It is pulled down by gravity. At least that’s what I sense when I look at it with its vertical pleats. And once again, this subtle difference between the subject and the background creates a tension that adds to the effect of the Insight.



Imagine me walking down the street and noticing this snowflake at the edge of my field of view. I get closer, take my smartphone and capture a photo. I’m on my way to work, so the whole thing takes only 30 seconds. I wish I could stand there, in the middle of the street, and allow myself to look closely, and reveal all these opposites, the effect they create, and how they play so nicely together. I wish I could — but I can’t.

And that’s exactly why I am bothering to capture as many Insights as possible. It practically takes no time, and I can always come back to them later, re-live the discoveries, and allow myself to have a closer look and find even more amazing things in them.

Finding all these opposites in the Insight took me about five minutes — time dedicated to observation and association — time I didn’t have this morning on my way to work. But it is so easy to take a snapshot of something that has caught my attention for a second and use it later for a more in-depth observation.

Maybe this is not the ultimate way to slow down and reconnect. Maybe taking the time to stand still in the middle of the street and observe is better. And sometimes it is even possible. But let’s not use this as an excuse. Taking this photo and allowing myself drown in it later was better than scrolling my endless “social” feeds and stopping to see another cute kitten gif. It was. Really.

If we can just lift our eyes and look around us, and later reflect on what we see — let ourselves enjoy it, or admire it, or be disturbed by it — we would be on the right track to owning back reality.

mental notes


  • Take a second to capture anything potentially interesting you see or sense even if you don’t have time to connect to it.
  • Save some time every day to reflect on the Insights you have captured.

now it is your turn… be creative!



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