habit zero #096

the challenge


Today we are back in a creative exploration assignment, and this time we are looking for Insights inspired by the Checkmate Seed.

my insight


The interpretation for the Checkmate Seed I was focused on today was derived from the geometry of a chess board… with a twist.

I found this wall decorated with a black-and-white pattern of triangles. The black-and-white pattern reminded me of a chessboard but I probably wouldn’t have titled it Checkmate if it wasn’t for the ominous feeling created by the relative depth of the shapes. The 3D effect of the triangles made them look like a trap — as if the ground is opening up and is about to reveal a nasty surprise.

And when I think of it this is the feeling I often have during a chess game: that the plain board is a battlefield with some unpleasant surprises (for me at least). And that’s basically the essence of the game, isn’t it?

When I came closer to the wall to capture its photo, I discovered that the pattern I saw it was in fact a flat print that just appeared to be three-dimensional. It was an illusion. Just like in chess things are not always what they appear to be, and sometimes the plainest pieces become part of an evil conspiracy to take over the opponent’s throne.



As we are approaching 100 entries in this open creative journal, I would like to take a minute to reflect on a recurrent pattern in many of the Insights I shared with you over the past three (plus) months.

When I created seempli and started playing with it myself, the process was focused mainly on observing. The seempli Seeds were (and still are) helping me tune into a concept or an idea and see the world through a particular lens. In these early days of trying to recreate the essence of the creativity using the seempli platform, capturing an Insight was the end of the process, unless you wanted to capture additional ones.

But, as we experienced in many of the Habit Zero journal entries, the Insights we capture are often just the beginning — they are often triggers for additional exploration, new discoveries, and a new set of Insights.

Finding the triangles pattern today and associating it with a chessboard wasn’t the end of the creative challenge. In fact, it was just the beginning. Capturing (first as a thought and then in writing) how it made me feel, how a chess game often makes me feel, and the revelation that this pattern results from an optical illusion — all these steps are part of the creative process. These are all creative Insights which were triggered by the photo I took.

The trap metaphor, describing my reaction to the game, and focusing on the illusion aspect of chess are the result of a short reflection process. This reflection cannot be decoupled from the observation activity. If you had asked me to come up with some thoughts about a chess game, chances are the words trap and illusion wouldn’t have come up. It was the combination of the Seed and the visual Insight I captured that triggered these thoughts.

I often say everything around us can be used as raw material. The reflection process, which should be an integral part of capturing any creative Insight, is where you take this raw material and use it to form something new, whether it is an original thought, an artwork, or a new product. More often than not, this is just one step in an endless, beautiful chain of Insights, reflections, and creations where each link is both a new discovery and a trigger — a Seed — for the next one.

mental notes


  • Use every creative Insight you capture for reflection.
  • Reflection is where raw material is being shaped into new ideas

now it is your turn… be creative!



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