Its Not What You Think…

Visual Aids
Visual Aids

It isn’t what you think. It’s HOW you think it.

Let me explain. Studying English Literature at Oxford university, I read a lot of books. Many made a big impression, but it was one I read later that really turned my universe upside down.

…No. Make that two books that changed my life. The first one prepared me for the second.

First came the anthropologist Margaret Mead’s Male and Female. Stories of growing up in several different societies in South East Asia. Those lives were so different from each other. Worse. They were even more different from mine.

I realised with a horrid shock that all I had been brought up to believe was just the way things were in daily life, part of the immutable truth of the universe, in fact represented only one of many equally valid ways of going about living.

What was the big one, my second life-altering, earth shattering book?

I no longer have it, but Google tracked it down: Science and the Supernatural by John Taylor. Amazon stock it. Not that they appear to value it quite as highly as I do. 50 copies are available, used and new from one cent.

One cent. That’s right. Go and get it if you like. It isn’t often you get prices so well adapted to the world financial situation.

Anyway, John Taylor, if this paltry tome is really the one I remember, subjects a variety of beliefs in the paranormal to the scrutiny of science. All but one fail to win his approval. That one is hypnosis.

As a result of reading this book, I rushed out and enrolled in the nearest course in hypnosis.

Before you run and hide behind the nearest sofa, let me assure you that I am not the least bit interested in getting you to believe you are a hamster, or dash back and forth obeying my every command.

I was simply bowled over at that time by the realisation that thinking was not the abstract affair I had always believed it to be. Processes in my head that I had fondly thought of as taking place in a vacuum were not by any means so spectral.

‘Thinking something through’ can often be better described as imagining it through.

Recognising this internal imagery is what gives hypnosis its undoubted power. Visual thinking became my passion. On the odd occasion when abstract thinking really did seem to be carried out in thin air, I resorted to charts, diagrams and other helpful visual aids.

Of course, I did come across a few uncooperative souls who seemed only to be able to see the point of an argument with their ears. But then, I still had a lot to learn…

Writer’s Block and a Creative Deadline? Go back to bed.

Owl Sees The Light
Owl Sees The Light

Getting creative ideas is not something you do.

It’s something you allow to happen.

Getting original ideas is …well let me demonstrate.

Imagine this scenario. You of course take the part of the Creative Person.

BOSS: Ah, there you are. Our Creative Person in person. Ha, ha, ha. Remind me why we pay you such an enormous salary just for being creative. How about earning it? We need ten brilliant ideas for our new marketing campaign. We’re planning to sell sand to Saudi Arabia.

YOU: (After a longish pause.) What”s the deadline?

BOSS: Preferably the Thursday before last. If not, tomorrow.

There we are then. Now what do you do?

Of course if you’re not really a creative person at all, (except in matters of cash,) but merely a sheep in wolf’s clothing, you go back to your desk and sharpen a few pencils. You sharpen a few more, a bit more vigorously. Following this, you proceed to the library, where you read about Arabia and the properties of sand until dehydration sets in.

You then return to your desk and try to think up ideas.

Who knows how, but already the desert has crept up on you. You feel as if you are trying to remember a name that has slipped your memory. It’s on the tip of your tongue, but the harder you try, the less you succeed.

Meanwhile what do you do if you truly are a creative person?

You turn around and go home. 

You will of course have to pop into the library for a quick dose of knowledge on the way, but after that you rely on those well known allies, the Bus, the Bath and the Bed. Those are the stations where good ideas generally arrive.  Anywhere, in fact, where your thoughts are free to wander.

As JR says in his her blog post ‘Internet Marketing Bright Ideas Should Never be Forgotten’:

…When we are actually sitting at the computer and working … is when we are least creative, mostly because we are too focused on the task at hand.

But when our mind is just drifting around, such as when driving, working out or washing dishes that is when the best ideas can just pop into our heads.

I think for the most part that these ideas are truly the best because they are not forced they come naturally as an inspiration and as the old saying goes, the light bulb goes off.

More in ‘Don’t Waste Those Good Internet Marketing Ideas’

How do you doodle on an iPhone?

You will be pleased to learn that I have been busy wasting my time,

teaching myself finger drawing on my iPhone.

Okay, okay. You haven’t got an iPhone. You haven’t even got an iPod. In which case the following slice of knowledge will be even more useless to you than it would be if you had.

On the other hand, to the creative person, who can say that any piece of knowledge is entirely useless? You never know when you might need to fish it out and put it to uses for which it was never intended.

Another solution would be to get an iPhone, a process I can strongly recommend.

The Icebergs Confer. iPhone Finger Painting.
The Icebergs Confer. iPhone Finger Painting.
iPhone Finger Painting is a brand new art.

The highly responsive touch screen on the iPhone and the new iPod Touch has made it possible. The screen is also large (well, large for a cell or mobile phone). Resolution is sharp as a pin and the colours glow.

You don’t need a stylus. In fact the Apple touch screen will not respond to a stylus. Controlling your finger is surprisingly difficult at first. Lettering can be distinctly wobbly, but improves with practice and concentration. I did evolve a method of holding my forefinger with my thumb and middle finger as though it were a pencil. This helped me out of one or two sticky corners.

Talking of sticky corners, iPhone finger painting is not to be confused with the variety that vies with mud pies for the delight of toddlers.
…But of course the real use of drawing on the iPhone is to add speech bubbles saying “Glad you’re not here” to your holiday snaps, and give your mother in law or teacher horns and a moustache.

Never mind. You’ll probably grow out of that stage too.

The Night Tree. iPhone Finger Painting.
The Night Tree. iPhone Finger Painting.

Meanwhile bear in mind that you can’t draw on photos as easily on the iPod Touch. The iPod Touch doesn’t yet have its own camera.