By now we all know that good ideas come to those who think outside the box. It’s the place where creativity, innovation, progress, candy and beer originate. Once upon a time, outside the box was new and alternative, but now it’s evolved to the point that outside the box is really inside the box – though that does not mean that inside the box is now outside, if you get the drift here. Over at the Harvard Business Review, they recently discussed box based thinking and the varied ways it impacts our lives. They quoted a Zen master who said, “The instructions for getting out of the box are written on the box.” All of which could mean that if you’re inside the box, you may not be able to see those instructions for getting outside the box.
Even more interesting, they had a revelation that we commonly get into the habit of creating boxes for ourselves, and not realizing that we are inside our own created boxes. There’s the box of “the way we always do it,” which on the outside has the instruction, “there is another way.” Another box is, “It’s my damn box, and I’ll say who gets in and who gets out,” which stifles creativity by nurturing “groupthink.” Other things that can be boxes that restrict us include, titles, believing we know best, turning only to “yes” people and more. And yes, we can’t be sure if all these boxes are made of ticky-tacky. But someone seems to be saying that if you want new and exciting artwork from those who color outside the lines, you first need to recognize that you could be stifling creativity with boxes that you created.
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