It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activityMichel Eyquem de Montaingne
The world looks very different from the perspective of children. They lack the experience, preconceived ideas, and self-limiting beliefs of adults. Unlike grown-ups, children often lack inhibitions and have yet to learn the fears that we have as we experience more of life. Their outlook of the world is far more naïve. They bring a viewpoint that is sometimes surprising, sometimes amusing, sometimes disturbing.
Replicating their ability to see the world with such innocence isn’t necessarily easy. You can try to:
- crawl on the floor like a baby, or walk around on your knees to get the same visual perspective as a child.
- explain your issue to a four-year-old.
- explain your issue to an eight-year-old.
- explain your issue to a twelve-year-old.
…and listen with respect to their ideas while noticing any similarities or differences between the reactions you get.
Overcoming your fear of looking foolish in front of a child is possibly the greatest barrier to trying this out. However, really listening to a child can be a genuine source of inspiration. Actually engaging in their fantasies and going along with their stories can open your eyes to a long-forgotten perspective on the world. Seeing how they connect the dots, given their different experience of the world can be a true joy.
You can also just watch a child, or children together, and learn from them. See how they select their clothes, how they play, or how they pretend to do grown-up things.
Above there is a picture I drew for one of my daughters Alex when she was four. She wanted a giraffe on a bike, a rabbit, a bird, and a big flower. She drew in the rain and her own name, twice (once as a sort of reversed anagram). Tate Modern, here we come! I would never have come up with that without her help.
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This creativity tip comes from Build Your Own Idea Factory: 68 ways to boost your creativity and get inspired by David Norrington