Think You’re Being Creative By Thinking Outside The Box? Try Thinking Without A Box

You must never think in the box

You must never think out of the box

For optimal creativity and innovation

You must always think without a box

* Lincoln Wells, modified by Larry Frank

What you are about to read is in no way ego motivated. It is one of life’s lessons that I’ve learned and embraced. It has provided me a certain amount of creativity and success.

I ask that you reflect on my ideas below on how to approach and solve new or existing challenges with a more creative approach – thereby turning existential stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.

The concept of creative thought and innovation spans the time of humankind. Every epoch has presented challenges and problems in one form or another. Many of these were solved without then current or historical reference, necessitating innovative thinking, that is, thinking without a Box.

To quote from a song in the Broadway musical, Oklahoma (circa 1945): “Everything’s up to date in Kansas City, they’ve gone about as far as they can go.” If that thinking prevailed throughout history, we’d still be in caves; no wheel, no Michelangelo, no televisions, no internet.

The state of innovation and change in this new century is accelerating at warp speed and guaranteed to reach hyper-warp speed. Innovation and technology reign supreme. People not on the cutting-edge of commerce, business and all art forms, are quickly cast aside as archaic.

Thinking outside the Box is an obsolete trope.

Fact: the Box that people try and think outside of is self-created and in fact, self-limiting. Yet some feel comfortable and protected thinking in and/or outside their Box, because it provides them reference and safety. Some actually fear unfettered creative thinking, that is thinking without a Box, because there’s no safety net to protect them from failure. Thinking outside the Box is tantamount to tunnel vision.

Is thinking without a Box reserved for only the few? Absolutely not. To greatly simplify, thinking without a Box is looking at the ordinary without that safety net of reference; sort of free falling in the atmosphere of the multi-dimensional and abstract, but still utilizing the current ways and means of technology, logic and imagination (there’s an oxymoron, but it works). Einstein put it this way: “the secret to creativity and innovation is like looking at the world through new eyes, as one emerges from a cave into daylight.” Or, as I say, “as a child looks at a new toy.”

Thinking without a Box is the key to infinite possibility.

In my lifetime I am happy to say that I have thought without a Box on many occasions as a creative solution to a challenge or problem. Mind you, in doing so there is no guarantee of success. One must not fear failure in order to achieve and innovate. Some of history’s greatest innovators and thinkers have achieved success through a series of failed dreams and schemes. Fact is, we learn from our un-achieved goals.

Therefore dream and scheme free of the Box. Chart a roadmap of short-term attainable goals to arrive at a solution. This is the more creative and rewarding route. Lou Reed expressed it best when he sang, “hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.”

photo © Larry Frank

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