We've all heard that catchphrase, "thinking outside the box", but do we really know its history and its definition? It's an easy little phrase to spout off in attempts to be as innovative as possible, but it's easier said than done. How can we truly exit boxed-in thinking once and for all?
Let’s first visit the pure definition of what this phrase is supposed to imply which is, in short, “to think in an original or creative way” says Oxford Languages. This is the manner in which you sometimes must try incredibly hard to appear to be not trying at all, which is what many of us accidentally end up doing. Sometimes it’s best to try to simplify rather than complicate. When it comes to creativity, it’s all too easy to get lost in the nuances and details and become so overwhelmed that you’re almost frozen and stuck in a creative strike. The notion of “thinking outside the box” almost seems even more overwhelming and too much to overcome, so we don’t even make the slightest attempt in doing so.
Let’s break it down. Assess your approach in how you typically come up with ideas. Do you get inspired by friends, magazines, documentaries? If you’re stuck when it comes to ideas, try to switch it up and get inspired by that which you normally wouldn't. Are you trying to think outside of the sonic box? Bring another expression of art into the equation and learn from it. In this case, you would approach writing music as a sculptor. This can help shift your sometimes cob-webbed ideas into a different light and you’ll start to think of your methods of approach and execution in broader manners.
Two suggestions that we really love from Grammarly, include the idea of asking a child about their perspective. This is a wonderful way of getting back to your roots and taking a lot of the conditioning we acquire out of the equation. A child often has a pure take on things and they’ll call it like it is. The second tip that we think is absolutely a win-win is the idea of taking a class.
If you don’t feel like leaving your cozy house, then it’s seriously time to make use of the internet. There is an incredible wealth of knowledge on websites such as YouTube. Take a deep dive into different interviews and documentaries. You can learn so much from others. Sometimes it won’t be an immediate epiphany, but you’ll find yourself later revisiting a passing comment that someone may have made. This can spark a new route in your train of thought and this is where the inspiration arrives!
Allow yourself an environment that does not distract, or make your best attempt to find the time of day where you have a few moments to get lost in your thoughts. Introduce new colors, new sounds, new people to your inspiration bank. You’d be surprised at what can stick and really influence your ways of thinking things through.
At the end of the day, ideas work in mysterious ways and will forever be evolving in your mind and the minds of others. Hop on and have fun with it. Letting go is one of the most important and most difficult aspects of letting your mind wander and run free. Once you’re able to control the feeling of allowing your thoughts to be be out of control - then you’ve tapped into something truly special!