Day 31: Don’t create in an actual cardboard box!

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012

Day 31:  Don’t create in an actual cardboard box!

Day 31.  How is January already over?  Incredible.  I think maybe I thought counting the days would somehow slow down Father Time—not so much, he’s still flying by…the old bastard.  In honor of my first month coming to a close I Google “think outside the box inside the box.”  94,100,000 results come up.  I click through the first 10 pages but my site is not listed.  I give up looking.  Apparently, I’d better consider SEO services.

I do see some of the familiar research I came across that inspired me:  Adam Dachis’ blog on Lifehacker titled “Before You Think Outside the Box, Think Inside It.”  Adam so wisely recommended, “When crafting your ideas, first think inside the box before you look outside.”  The source for his post came from Christopher Peterson’s The Good Life blog for Psychology Today titled “First, Think Inside The Box.”  He so harshly wrote, “If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid.”  And Dan Pallotta’s Harvard Business Review blog post titled “Stop Thinking Outside The Box.”  He so eloquently stated,  ““You cannot possibly think outside the box unless you understand the nature of the box that bounds your current thinking. You must come to know that nature deeply. You must have real insight into it. You must accept it, and embrace it at some level, before it will ever release you…. So figure out the box you’re in. If you try to get out before you understand the box’s parameters, you’ll just stay stuck inside of it. And that’s exactly what it wants.”

Don't create in an actual cardboard box!

I notice a very recent study from the Association for Psychological Science titled, “To ‘Think Outside the Box’, Think Outside The Box.”  The study put to test metaphors used in creativity, including “think outside the box”.  They put subjects either outside or inside a five-by-five foot cardboard box.  Each participant was then given a test to test his or her creativity.  Turns out people were less creative when they were in a literal box!  Hilarious.  The study certainly makes the case for getting out of your Dilbert cubicle and into wide-open spaces to stimulate creativity.  But what about the incredible power our deep-rooted belief systems have?  These clichés actually have power to affect our creativity.

It reminds me how important it is to continue to pound in my head the meaning of think outside the box inside the box and create from what you have:  GET CREATIVE WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW.  Eventually, I won’t even realize I’m thinking outside the box inside the box and creating from what I have.  I’ll just automatically get really creative with what I already have in my life.

Until tomorrow, create from what you have…and create from what you have…and create from what you have…and create from what you have.

Kelli Joan Bennett is a filmmaker, actress, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for creative thinking and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media.

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