Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.
Last week, poured a shot of creative inspiration into our first cup of the day. What did you discover while sipping and savoring? Did you use those extra minutes to appreciate the contemplative moments contained by our little hand-held containers? Perhaps you found a story in there; a story capturing the perilous journey of a coffee bean or a spring of tea meeting water for the first time. Did you take a “100% post consumer product” cup and put it to one more good creative use before lobbing it back into the recycle bin? Maybe you struck up a creative conversation with a co-worker over refills in the office pantry and solved a sticky work problem. No matter where your seven minutes of creative contemplation took you, I hope the result provided a moment to appreciate the rituals that ground us.
If you are like me, our object for this week’s creative nudge will be easy to find: a business card. These little rectangles serve as our tactile introduction to the world. If you don’t think this first impression matters, think again! If you’ve ever felt measured by the cut of your card, right now is a great time to reintroduce yourself to the world via several minutes of creative practice.
Business cards, though small, are packed with symbolism. These slips of our self represent our professional identities, our aspirations, our dreams yet to be realized. As a writer, mine looks like it was cut from a spiral notebook and designed to write notes on.
Maybe you’ve gone post-materialist with your greeting, and have a digital card you transmit through your phone. Don’t despair, you can still play our games. Take a look on your porch. I always find a few cards from gardeners or arborists under my welcome mat. Another good place to source cards for our creative exercises below include the bottom of your purse, the laundry basket, or that crack between the driver’s seat and the center console in your car.
Take a few of these cards, and let them introduce you to a world where creative play is the rule for the day (or at least the next seven minutes). Here’s some suggestions to get you started:
- Card Castle: Remember the joy of building with blocks? Take several cards and slot them together, much like Lincoln Logs. With patience and a steady hand, you can create intricate three dimensional assemblages, from simple huts to towering skyscrapers.
- Aerodynamic Adventures: Strictly business? Not! Fold one into a mini airplane. Test its flight and make adjustments. Does it glide smoothly or take unexpected turns? Much like our career paths, sometimes it's the unexpected detours that lead to interesting chance encounters.
- Dream Job Design: Astronaut? Chocolate taster? Time traveler? Raconteur? What was your dream job before you grew up? Take a blank business card and design it for your dream job. Let your imagination run wild. What's your title? What details would you include? This activity is a fun way to visualize your aspirations and maybe even set new goals.
- Sound Off: Let’s make some noise with that card. Get a stack and shuffle them. Tuck it into your spokes before a ride along Victoria Avenue’s Rosanna Scott Memorial Bicycle Trail.
The next time you hand out or receive a business card, I hope you see it not just as an exchange of contact info, but as a link, a possibility, and a nudge towards creativity. Business cards, willing tools of the networking trade, can be so much more. They're canvases of creativity, gateways to imagination, and reminders of our ever-evolving personal creative journeys. As you play and create with these cards, remember that like them, you too are multifaceted, filled with untapped stories waiting to be told.
Note: This column written with the help of ChatGPT Plus and related Plugins.