I am so tiny I am riding a bird! We are flying through flower beds and I can see huge, juicy caterpillars.
I remember the vivid imaginings reading Thumbelina gave me as a child. How extraordinary to feel myself so tiny. How different the whole world looked from this perspective.
Did you read Thumbelina when you were little? Do you remember seeing things differently in this way when you read fairy tales?
We learn this powerful mental technique as children. How many of us retain it for use as a grown-up?
In sweet irony, years after imagining I was Thumbelina, an ad agency paid thousands of dollars to send me on a “creative thinking skills” course designed to ‘teach’ us writers and art directors how to do exactly this!
We, as adults, were taught how to “reframe”.
‘Reframing’ is the incredibly useful creative technique of looking at ordinary things – people, situations, experiences – and, in the case of this course – products and services – from brand new angles; changing your size in relation to them, their size, how they might interact in unusual ways with the world around them.
It’s a very effective device for solving creative problems, breaking through creative dead ends and igniting fresh ideas.
If you’re working on a new product launch – maybe a natural fruit juice – one way of using reframing is to imagine the juice to be HUGE like an ocean – oh, now you have an idea of a sea of fruit juice. (How many ads have you seen using that image?!)
Now imagine it tiny – ah, a dewdrop of juice on an aloe vera plant, magnified. (Again, no doubt you’ll have seen that image selling everything from skin care to bottled water.)
I’ve found reframing to also be a great way to jolt yourself out of a groove of negative thinking.
By imagining the issue or situation you’re experiencing differently you can find new ways of responding to it. (Also, I’ve just remembered, there are great NLP techniques that use reframing by taking a ‘problem’ that’s holding you hostage and then imagining it as a tangible shape so as to see it shrinking and shrinking in your mind’s eye – or a loud sound made quieter for those more auditory than visual among us – and thereby diminishing its negative impact on your thinking.)
Many of the games you played so naturally, so effortlessly, as a child are valuable tools to continue using as an adult. Think about what games and “let’s pretends” you enjoyed and consider applying them to issues, people and experiences you have as a grown-up.
But, oh, let’s not get bogged down in too much rational thinking. Of course, one of the most entertaining applications of reframing is – imagining you are Thumbelina. Which bird are you riding today?
The Thumbelina image above is a shadowplay toy – one of a range available from Isabellas Art’s Etsy shop.