“Think outside the box”, is one of the most common phrases used in order to try to spark creative thinking. My hope today is to get our thinking past this phrase and to just think creatively without parameters. And essentially give my argument as to why I strongly dislike( I don’t want to use the word hate but this is up there on the list.) this phrase in the scope of creative thinking.
The “box” is a metaphor used in the phrase to represent our thinking.The “box” represents multiple things from the perspective of creativity.
The “box” represents:
3.What’s already been done and essentially anything that’s not considered creative.
The “box” is supposed to be the thing that we above or outside of. But in my opinion the box is a figment of your imagination. Why does it even have to exist? Here are 3 reasons as to why this phrase doesn’t work.
1.You acknowledge the fact that there are limitations
a.When you acknowledge limitations you’re more likely to focus on them. (what you focus on expands)
2.It contradicts itself.
a.The phrase wants you to think creatively but acknowledges that there are limitations on creativity or that there is a certain level your thinking must reach in order to be creative.
3.We essentially put our creativity in comparison to what has already been. (With the exception of copying someone's idea. Copy=replicate=identical)
a.There is nothing wrong with being inspired by someone’s idea and putting your own flare on it. (Just give props! Please!!)
I think for a long time the standard of trying to spark creative thinking has been to tell people to think outside the box. But what I don’t think people realize is that when we do that we diminish creativity that doesn’t meet our expectation. We have essentially said that if it doesn’t meet our standard it somehow falls into this “box” and then we are expected to rise (or think) above it. I believe getting rid of the “box” will allow for more creative thoughts to flow without the pressure of feeling like it has to be outside of the “box”.