Ted Chiang has a science fiction story titled “The Merchant and The Alchemist’s Gate” where Fuwaad ibn Abbas uses a time machine to go back 20 years to fix a mistake he has done. I am inspired by this story and I would like to pose you the following challenge:
In this exercise, you will imagine that you can use a time machine to go back 20 years in time. Please respond to the following prompts:
In this article, I will present 15 sample inspirational pages from my notebooks. All of these pages deal with my emotional landscape, the challenges I have faced, and the solutions I have created.
Whenever I struggle with issues, I take my pencil and take the issues to my notebooks. I have created these 15 pages to solve my own problems. As I share them, I will also ask you to create your own versions and respond to the prompts listed below.
Below, you will have a visual tour of how I have tried to solve thorny challenges and psychological issues…
The 30 Circles Test, developed by Stanford Creativity Researcher Bob McKim, is widely used in creative industries. You first draw 30 circles and then turn each of them into a different recognizable object. It is a fascinating and engaging method to exercise your imagination, work with constraints, and sharpen your mind.
When I did this exercise, I loved how simple the process was, and how it increased the neuroplasticity of my brain. Inspired by this method, I will pose you a greater challenge in this post. Everyone can come up with 30 ideas and objects. How about 500? What if…
In this exercise, you will write yourself two letters of imagination.
You will write for about 10 minutes for each letter. You will need a pen/pencil and a notebook with some fresh pages.
Start your letters right away — do not think too hard. Follow your intuitions and emotion, and capture your stream of consciousness. Do not judge how you write, and keep it flowing. Try to jump into the unknown and surprise yourself.
Are you ready for this quick adventure?
The first letter will be addressed to your 15-year-old self.
With your current experiences, insights, and wisdom, what would…
During the pandemic lockdowns, our lives have turned more anxious, demanding, and barren than ever. We have been experiencing what Adam Grant calls ‘languishing’ — ‘a sense of stagnation and emptiness’. Amongst the huge fear and losses we have been going through, we have all had trouble concentrating, making progress, or experiencing joy.
As each day is similar to one another, I have found myself feeling bored and anxious at the same time. I have followed the news and social media for several hours without even realizing how much time and energy I have lost. …
You might have an interest in drawing, but you have not yet demonstrated any progress. You might be thinking: I cannot draw. I tried before, but I did not like what I came up with. Why is drawing so hard? Why can’t I make progress? Why are my drawings dismal? Perhaps I am not creative. I want to draw, but I do not know how and where to start.
If so, you are at the right place. I have felt the same way for a long time myself. My drawings were horrible. …
In this post, I will present you with seven fresh reflective exercises from my notebook. Each of these exercises is presented in the form of doodles or notes in a diary.
Before we start, here are some fundamentals on reflection:
Reflection is a method of experiential learning where you step back from your direct experiences, try to make sense of them, and turn them into deeper learning in order to develop your own personal and professional practice. It helps you to focus on the ways in which you understand, develop, and apply your learning in new situations.
Reflection helps you…
Today, I have just realized that I have 333 articles published on Medium so far. I have written 320 of these articles during the last 14 months — during the pandemic lockdowns. This was one of the most surprising things I have ever done in my life — I ended up surprising myself. I would have never expected that I could write so many articles.
Nassim Taleb says: “How you did in this pandemic, as a country, a village, a business, a group, or an individual, whether emotionally, economically, or morally, is an indication of how robust you are and…
This exercise does not actually require imagination: We are already living with climate change.
Elon Musk says: “We are running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.” The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen to record levels. Like a blanket, these greenhouse gases are holding the heat in. The atmosphere now holds in more heat than it has for thousands of years. This causes extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and heatwaves.
In this exercise, you will imagine that you will write right now, or you will die. In a way, this is true anyway. If we do not write and create regularly, there will come a day that we will die without sharing our stories with the world. I believe withholding our stories from the world is a tremendous waste of our talent and creativity. That is why I present some writing exercises today that will create urgency for you.
Please respond to the following prompts:
Associate Professor in Business & Leadership at University of East Anglia. Passionate about doodling, imagination, and creativity. Author of Self-Making Studio.