Imagine you’re asked to come up with as many different uses as you can for a paper clip. 📎
If your brain gets hung up on a paper clip’s typical job — holding things together — you might get no more creative than “close an open bag of potato chips” before you run out of brilliant ideas. On the other hand, if you broaden your perspective beyond what a paper clip is supposed to do, you might start shouting things like “lock pick” or “tiny kabob skewer!” 🍢
This kind of “Alternative Uses Test” was designed as a way of measuring flexible thinking, but it’s a great illustration of how tunnel vision
Speaker, consultant, and author Gustavo Razzetti describes this as “a seeing gap…caused by observing limitations instead of possibilities” and identifies 3 different types of tunnel vision: 🔭 Anticipation: Being so focused on the future that you stop paying attention to now. 🤏 Narrow Vision: Focusing only on the familiar and missing what’s happening beyond your comfort zone. 🔍 Looking Inside: Spending too much time in introspection and losing an outside sense of self-awareness.
One great antidote to tunnel vision? Experimentation.
Stuck in a creative rut? Experiment! Maybe you’ve narrowed in too much on one medium, topic, or genre. Brainstorm how to combine your usual subject with something new or come at it from a unique angle.
Have a big goal? Experimentation reminds you not to focus so hard on the future that you can only see a single path forward. Chances are there are many different routes to your desired destination.
Not only will this generate new and interesting ideas — it will help open your eyes to the possibilities around you just waiting to be noticed. 💫
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