You can judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing to them or for them

Malcolm Forbes

Everyone has role models. Often they are our parents, and they might teach us how to live our lives, or become the very opposite and demonstrate how we wish not to live our lives.

Positive or negative, we learn from those around us, and in our media-drenched world, we have the opportunity to study a multitude of people in all walks of life.

Famous or familial, it makes little difference. What we are doing is seeing the world through the eyes of another, and considering how they might respond in a given situation. We have the ability to step outside of ourselves and become someone else, if only for a moment. Modelling your thoughts on someone else is about doing exactly that – placing someone else in your world and seeing things their way.

Try this:

Try this:

Now, imagine the same scene with:

Can you feel your perception shift, as you picture the person in your mind? If you don’t know who these people are, think instead about the last famous person you heard about, or whoever is currently trending on Facebook or Twitter.

It doesn’t even have to be someone famous. A positive role model can be someone in your life who encourages and inspires you. It can be a close relative or a friend.

Don’t pick just anyone to model. Select someone who can give you a completely different perspective on life. After all, you want some inspiration, not a carbon-copy of who you already are. And it doesn’t have to be someone who’s ‘appropriate’ to the problem for which you’re trying to get inspiration. Send Einstein in to sort out an art problem, or Picasso to do some maths. See how they approach a subject not immediately associated with them.

You can get a lot of good ideas by just playing that childhood game of ‘Let’s Pretend’, which is what this exercise, in essence, is all about. Playing doctors and nurses, or cops and robbers, or being a super-spy when you were a kid was a way of looking at the world differently, and it was fun and interesting. As we got older we seemed to have this part of our lives slowly knocked out of us. Why is that? What’s so wrong with operating on your old teddy bear again, saying “You’re nicked!” or talking to Q from James Bond in hushed tones on your imaginary earpiece?

Our connection with playing a different role can provide new insights and ideas. If you’ve dried up on an idea, pretend to be someone else and see what they’d do.

For more information:

Build Your Own Idea Factory

This creativity tip comes from Build Your Own Idea Factory: 68 ways to boost your creativity and get inspired by David Norrington

Please comment below if you found this useful – and post examples!

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