I like to play Scrabble on my iPhone. It's a way of passing the time in waiting rooms, or during advertisements watching a ball game (I just can't watch most ads), and I don't fancy busting little bubbles or smashing fruit, so I play this maddening game against the computer, which is diabolical and usually wins by playing words like qixazaphorpy, or something like that. The dictionary this thing uses is a remarkable creation. It says "Jew" is not a word in the English language, but says "fatwah" is. Hmm. If I had time for crusades I would look into the possible anti-Semitism of Hasbro Scrabble, but I'll leave that to someone else.
Point is, when you get those seven letters and you're supposed to make a word from it, your brain usually sees or formulates a word immediately. It's human perception at work. In the screenshot above, the word "wrap" first jumped out at me. Not bad. W and P can rack up some nice points when you place them properly. The temptation is to go with that, but I've learned, in my Quixotic campaign against Scrabble's evil anti-Semitic computer, that if I see something right away, it's time to start shuffling the letters to see what else comes up. Hey--Pawn is good too, and while we are at it, "PRAWN". So you start combining things, like James Altucher says in his book, "Choose Yourself." Combine ideas, challenge the status quo, rely on yourself and start imagining and creating ideas.
When we look at anything, the temptation is to see it through the prism of our life's experiences, upbringing, biases, and expectations. Learning to look at situations--and people--without any of those things is not easy. It takes shuffling of your brain cells, the way you shuffle the tiles in Scrabble, to discover new perceptions of what things can and might be.
My brain was immersed in a world of law enforcement every day for 27 years. That was after it was immersed in everything my parents told me, and my observations of what they did, how they loved, laughed, cried, spent their leisure time, and how they died. I retired from the police world in 2006, and while I carry with me all those incredible experiences (many of which I will be sharing here in this blog), I welcomed the new air I would breathe in the civilian world. We all carry with us the canvas of our persona, which bear the brushstrokes of every relationship, job, fight, religious sermon, sexual contact, happy hour, and failure we've ever been exposed to.
So you might have seen PRAWN way before I did. Or maybe not. I think the key is to just keep shuffling.