If you have been reading my past blog posts, a recent focus has been on maintaining creativity as part of our daily lives. And I have focused on what might prevent creativity from occurring rather than the term creativity itself. After all, if we do not know what creativity is, how can it be part of our lives?
According to Psychology Today: Creativity encompasses the ability to discover new and original ideas, connections, and solutions to problems. It is a part of our drive as humans, fostering resilience, sparking joy, and providing opportunities for self-actualization. And everyone possesses some measure of creativity, even if they don't realize it.
This inherent creativity is a result of how we think. And unless we are an Einstein, a Mozart, or a Leonardo Da Vinci, most of our creativity results from living by two of the most cited strategies: we 'Think out of the box' or we are 'Thinking outside of the box'.
While each occurs at different times and has a different impact on our creativity, they are both metaphors with the same objective: to think differently, unconventionally and from a new and original perspective.
We 'Think out of the box' when we sit down and list all the things we and everyone know and then create a new and original picture or write a unique and original story from all those known elements.
We are 'Thinking outside of the box' if we create a new drawing, a new story, a unique solution or a new idea with no prior knowledge or perspective.
Either way, we are being creative. Or are we?
What is in that proverbial BOX that we are in or out of that allows us to be creative? That box is where we live. It is rules and regulations that we have set up (usually our own rules that we set up for ourselves) that we rely on to understand the world in which we live and where we are in our comfort zone and find solace.
This box is the foundation of the old saying (which is very true): "no matter where you go, there you are." If we are always looking from the same reference point, and we do not change that perspective, can we ever really think very far beyond the walls of that box? How creative can we indeed be? After all, boxes are rigid and stuck in time and structure. Life is not stuck! Life is moving forward every day. As they say, time waits for no one.
We might prefer to be stuck in life because that's our plan (our box), where we work and live every day. We want to do what we have always done. That is our excitement in life, our happiness, and a contributor to our longevity.
Creativity allows our fabulous creative selves to be part of our everyday lives (no matter how scary it can be). And as our wisdom and perspective build every day, we can continually develop and feed this creativity.
To truly make our creative selves work for us, I believe we need to create a new box from which to think. But that is hard to do. First, we must know how to get out of the old box. Then we need to know what to do when we are out there and, equally important, how to get back in. Because, don't forget, we live in that box.
Do you realize that the TV franchise/show Survivor first aired in 1997? That's 25 years of the survivors thinking out of new boxes daily. Boxes with no history, only new rules
Think about Elon Musk. I wonder if he knows what a box is? And if he does, he never stays in one for ve
So how do we find a new box? How do we open our minds to think creatively from a new and different vantage point? If I had answers to those two questions, I might be hanging out with Mr. Musk. But to be honest, I would prefer to hang in here with you and share the adventure of seeking answers to seemingly impossible questions, answering those questions, and creating new boxes.
It would be nice to be like the queen in 'Alice in Wonderland, who
sometimes believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
But in my experience, creating even one new thing is easier said than done. After all, why should we think out of the box? Our social algorithms are thinking for us, creating our comfort zone. And we agree with pretty much everything our algorithm is telling us. We feel safe and secure. And when we go out, we are confronted with the fear of the unknown. We risk losing all we have built.
So let's get out of our box, create at least one new box, and get our creative juices going.
In my blog post TV addiction, I asked you to pick one night per week and do something creative for a given period. Now that we know what creative is, please update that assignment. Once a week, create a new box with no boundaries and no predetermined rules. It might be some moments listening to a blog post or connecting with an old friend you have not seen in quite a while. Do you wonder what they are doing and what wisdom they have gained over the years since your last contact?
And think creatively out of new insight and new perspectives you acquire. Your new knowledge and wisdom may be to give up on all you thought you could acquire from someone else and branch out on your own. I have always loved the saying, 'Be yourself; everyone else is taken!' And I have had to learn that more than once over the years.
Give yourself time. Change is not easy. The Boxes we have created and live within have taken many years to build. They say it can take up to 255 days to make a change, so start now and take your time, savor the moments (the hours, the days).
So call that friend, and take 15 minutes to write down what you need to do and what you would like to accomplish the next day, the following week.
When I started this post, my box was pretty set. I had my plan. But as I was writing, I realized if I was going to be original and truthful, I had to do as I have requested of you. I had to block out all my old rules and regulations if I was going to realize a new box was even possible. I wish I had done this in the past. I wish I had learned that I was thinking inside an old box. But there is no changing the past, only creating our future. So let's think out of some new boxes and have a new and creative future!
Please share how you made it happen if you are already in that new box. And what have you created that is new and exciting?