inside the boxI never quite go the concept of thinking “outside the box”.

While it is akin to creative ideas, highlighting the goal to think beyond something as boring as a 3D square, something just never quite hit me the right way.

After doing a little research it is easy to learn that this term is corporate speak for creativity. (ie: it’s not something artists came up with, instead it is said to be coined by marketing consultants back in the 70’s)

It’s catchy and cliche. The perfect buzz phrase to incite new concepts. But as a creative person, it doesn’t really hit home to me.

In fact, I love boxes.

(And so does the creative energy inside of you)

Here’s why —>

1. A “box” is at its very essence a structure of sorts.

Painters use a few basic shapes to form landscapes + portraits.
Architects have their blueprints which must scale appropriately.
Musicians rely on 8 notes for all of the beautiful sounds we can hear

The art is not outside of those boxes, but within and around the structure.

The art embodies the box.

2. The creative process thrives on boxes.

Any successful artist, entrepreneur, athlete, or leader relies on all sorts of “boxes” to accomplish their goals. Namely these are habits + plans. Every day the creative must get to work + take small steps towards their goals.

You may pull out a notebook (box) and start scribbling.
You may open up a word document and start typing.
You may walk into the studio and start warming up.

Those same boring tasks done each day can accumulate into something wonderful and each happens within specific structures of space and time.

When strategic plans are laid over those routines new ideas + realities are born.

3. Being boxed in by constraints is the perfect environment for something magical to happen.

The more boundaries there are on any given project, the more creative you need to be to find a solution. Somehow constraints create the pressure necessary to push new ideas forward. This is because it forces you to focus on the key elements you most need for a breakthrough.

Even when those with very poor eyesight look through a tiny pinhole they can see clearly.

To me what exists “outside of the box” might as well be an abyss of the unknown.

The box takes all of that and births something new by giving it form.

I’m very happy inside my box because somehow what I need can always be found in there when I need it and I have something to work with.

You may in fact feel very limited with your current situation and environment but I encourage you to press into what your are experiencing this present moment and work within this space to push forward on your big ideas.

Think inside the box! (how’s that for an out-of-the-box concept ;) (Tweet this!)

What’s one way ‘boxes’ have helped your creativity flourish? I’d love to hear your perspective so leave a comment below – and if you liked this post share it with your friends!

2 Comments on 3 Ways Thinking Inside the Box will Kickstart Your Creativity

  1. Rachel
    February 5, 2015 at 10:16 AM (4 years ago)

    Great article, Jessica! I live and work in many boxes. As a working artist I NEED structure in my day… Otherwise nothing will get done. I’ve lost a little of that structure… Your article has sparked me to get it back!



    • Jessica Newell
      March 7, 2015 at 1:17 PM (4 years ago)

      So glad this spoke to you Rachel! It’s true, I don’t think many realize how much structure creativity depends on. So great that you’ve found the right ways to set up yours.


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