Not long after I started my Creativity Challenge, I realized something ironic.
- One one hand...
JibberJobber, the prize for the contest, is designed to help you strengthen connections.
- On the other hand...
The Random Word exercise, the contest itself, requires you to destroy connections.
Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds. The Random Word is actually about escaping current connections to search for new ones.
The more times our brains thinks of something, the easier it is to think of that same thing again.
That's why we study for tests, and why it's hard to stop thinking about a new romantic interest, and why I can still recite a children's poem I learned at the age of ten.
But it's not so great for creative thinking.
Then, when the brain is asked to solve a problem, it jumps right to its usual solution.
That's why car companies always think faster, bigger, more powerful, more expensive when they design new cars. It's why cell phones are all moving towards becoming mini computers. It's why I always want to make pasta when it's my turn to cook dinner.
And the Random Word technique is designed to get in there, stop the normal connection-making, and bust the possibilities wide open!
You'll know exactly what I mean when you go to my contest and get a random word. Your mind will be happily trying to think of new ways to improve a car... when your random word will come up something crazy and completely unrelated.
Immediately, your brain will screech to a halt, going "WHAT? What in the world do "sharks" have to do with improving a car???"
You'll think it's impossible. You'll think I'm cruel for filling the Random Word Generator with absurd words. You'll hate me for doing it on purpose!
But, then something will click and an idea will come up.
- Like incorporating a cartilage-like material into cars to make them less like to break and shatter in accidents.
- Or studying how the shark's scales move water to figure out a more efficient tread system for tires.
- Or something else that makes sense and results in a new idea.
What happens is that the Random Word doesn't allow our brains to go from A to B anymore. In fact, it makes us start at completely-related point C.
Then, because our brains are so used to making connections, they frantically run over every aspect of Random Word until they find something that can be related to the problem at A. Then, BAMM, a new connection is made.
The Random Word technique starts our thinking outside the "normal" connections, and then solves the problem by connecting backwards.
The process isn't as neat as going from A to B, but it does work. Just ask the 13 readers who have already successfully made connections in my contest.
Or better yet, go try it yourself!
And, maybe you'll not just win with all the new creative connections you make, you'll also win the JibberJobber subscription so you can make connections with real people too!