Ever heard someone say, “Let’s think outside of the box”? What they really mean is, try and find a new way to view or solve the problem. I have heard this expression in just about every professional job I’ve been in. It is used to try and stimulate creating thinking.
What if I were to tell you that there is no box. That by accepting there is a box is like admitting that there are limitations that exist. That by not believing there is a box means that you are free to see things without restriction and without constraint.
Creative thinking is a limitless, boundless continual way to view and solve problems. There is never a box or limitation to interrupt the flow of thought.
How does one even begin to start thinking this way? I will describe some ways to help release the creative flow.
- Even if you are not an artist, grab a canvas and start to paint. Do not think about your strokes. Just paint. Look at a color that inspires you and just brush it in any direction that comes natural. The goal here is to not paint a masterpiece. The goal is not to conform the lines or colors into something cohesive. It may be uncomfortable to see disconnected lines or colors that do not go well together. If this starts to impact you, then you are thinking too much about this exercise. The goal is allow yourself to loosen up. Keep trying this until you can let go and accept that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Listen to music. Try classical, reggae or something relaxing. Close your eyes and listen. Listen to the instruments. Listen to the words. Move. Sway. Tap your feet on the ground. Feel your body start to loosen up. Sing along to the words of the song. Remember the goal is not to try out for American Idol. It’s just to relax and loosen you up.
- Go outside and watch the natural things around you. If you are in a heavy traffic area, then go to a park. Observe the trees swaying as if they are dancing in the wind. Close your eyes and listen. Listen to the birds. Listen to the sounds. Open your eyes and look at the different colors around you. Breathe slowly. Become a part of your surroundings.
- Grab a piece of paper and pen and start to write down ideas and thoughts. Notice that I said pen and not pencil. The reason is at first, to not go back and review what you are writing. Just keep writing. Write your thoughts. Write your experiences. Allow yourself to just go with your thoughts for a moment. When you can’t write anymore, go back and review what you have written. Do not erase anything. Think about what you wrote, but not too much. The point of this exercise is to allow yourself to think freely. Keep trying this. It may take several attempts.
- Change it up. There are several ways to do this. It could be your wardrobe, it could be a hair style, it could even be cooking. Find a way to express yourself differently. I like to take dishes and try to add a different, unique flare to it. Some work out, some don’t. But keep creating.