I just took a shower and – confirming all cliches – a new topic for a blog post came to my mind. Sometimes, it takes weeks or months to write the articles, to find the specific topics I want to cover, and to generate and evaluate appropriate content that I inted to share. And sometimes, thoughts just come to our minds. Especially in these moments, we should start to recognize them as tiny fragments of our lives, during which we can actually feel like newton (apple on his head) or archimedes (crown in the water while having a bath).
There is some research in the field of idea generation, and many books still suggest that these genious moments hapen by chance. However, we can do some things to increase the probability of experiencing them more often. As I am talking about creativity, idea generation and how to rediscover our lost childhood-like imagination, it should have become clear that this rediscovery does not happen in an instance. Therefore, I want to share one interesting technique that I discovered and try to use occasionally:
Imagine, that you could start again, become whoever you want to be and act differently from your current identity. As a child, I used to do that quite often. I loved acting as a hero, either an imaginative one called Joe (acutally I wanted to be Jack, but a friend of mine claimed this name for himself). Or, on the other hand, I wanted to become Hercules. While all other friends dreamed about being a firefighter or police man, I wanted to be the super-strong greek half-god Hercules. Once, when I was three years old, I showed my strength to our neighbor – by trying to lift a completely filled garbage bin. Of course I failed, having neither the statue nor the strength of the strongest man who ever lived. But at least I imagined being him.
While I was growing older, this very own kind of superpower had faded away. I acted in one specific environment: School, sports club and therefore my social relationships remained more or less the same. Everyone I knew perceived me in a specific way, and of course I acted in a way to match their expectations on how I should be behaving.
But when I moved out to study in another city, suddenly all my contacts were not there anymore. I could be free to be whoever I wanted to be. It was the first time in my life, where I was not bound to act according to specific expectations of people I knew. Everyone was new, I made new friends, talked to people I would have never talked to in my previous life. These new impressions I gained from this shift in character were one of the most intriguing ones I have made up to today. Several other shifts in location followed and allowed me to become someone else a few times more.
The biggest change in character though happened, when I moved to Italy doing my Erasmus. For the last 5 years I had dreamed of the chance of acting as a leader, as a truly self-confident and satisfied person that could establish connections to new persons in an instance, having some kind of charisma and not being afraid of embarrassing himself in whatever situation should occur. As no one knew my previous identity before, it was surprisingly easy to establish that kind of perception.
“Every role you act in is a facet through which we perceive our world in a different color.”
What’s the point I want to make telling you this story? Like the faceless men in Game of Thrones, I changed my identity. Of course I could not change my appearance, but if no one knows you, the way you look is just of minor importance. In every social environment, we act according to a specific role. We get used to it, act as others expect us to behave. And at some point, it becomes routine. But as soon as routines are established, we are in danger of getting bored, threatened by losing the sight for the special, the new and the change.
Becoming different persons while meeting different people instead allows us to take different perspectives, generate different views and therefore enrich the way we perceive our world. And now it all comes back to creativity. Every role you act in is a facet through which we perceive our world in a different color. If we continue being the same person for our entire life, our picture of the world becomes monochromatic. But if we manage to occasionally change our face, we can experience a world with thousands of colors, memories and impressions that help us to return to our creative roots.
***ADDITIONAL REMARK ADDED LATER***
Let me briefly clarify what changing identity and becoming different persons actually means to me. “Acting”, as I named it throughout this post, is not intended to describe an actual behavior of imitating a character I am not and just pretend to be. I still remain the same person that I was as a child, at high school and during my Bachelor’s degree. Throughout this time, I have gathered experiences through different lenses while showing different sides of my character, but I have never not lost my background. Instead, I want to point out that within a new environment, you can show a different side that is already part of your character: A facet that might have been suppressed by your previous environment and now helps you to get a more complete picture of the world that is surrounding you.