In many of my creativity training sessions, I invite my sensei (karate teacher) in to meet the class. He is able to teach everyone how to break a board with a well-placed karate chop and a very loud, from-the-gut yell. I have the members of the group write on their boards-they write down obstacles in their path, anything that is obstructing their progress or blocking their way. Then-CRACK-each of them breaks the board in two.
Reading about this, it might seem obvious ('Oh, yes, I get it; we're breaking through the barriers'), but the physical rush that each participant feels is undeniable. Again, this is why reading the exercises in this resource is not a substitute for actually doing them; one provides an intellectual understanding, while the other provides a visceral understanding. Board breakers say that it requires belief, energy, and focus to break the board with their bare hands after only two or three minutes of training. It is not physical force. It is, in truth, the combination of faith, energy, and focus. That's it. Imagine what would happen if you applied that same intensity to the opportunities that are at hand for you.
After we've had our karate session, I ask everyone to go through the three-panel cartoon exercise, describing her thoughts before, during, and after the moment when she broke the board. It's interesting to see how the experience changes each person, even when that person thought she knew what to expect.
I recommend that, when you try some of the exercises in this chapter, you evaluate them by doing that same three- panel cartoon exercise: What did you think before, during, and after?
Now you are ready to move on to specific exercises, to indulge in a 'wild and crazy time.' These exercises can open the floodgates and stimulate the flow of new ideas and concepts.