Thinking Out Of The Box For The Clueless & Misguided

July 25, 2010

The idiot who coined the phrase “thinking out of the box”, wasn’t doing potential entrepreneurs any favors. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating – there is no damn box. All it means is thinking creatively and what could restrict your creativity more than imagining some stupid box in your head?

No matter who you are, or what you do, the ability to think creatively is one of your greatest assets. It helps you generate ideas, solve problems, invent and create and do a whole bunch of other awesome things.

Even if you don’t believe you’re one bit creative, it’s easy to tap into the creative part of your brain and get it working for you. Creativity is a bit like a muscle – if you don’t use it, it wastes away, but there are plenty of things you can do to get it working again.

Creative Thinking Tools For Smart People

1. Try Mindmapping: Mindmapping is a trademark. It is a similar technique to spider mapping. Traditionally you used a pen and paper to Mindmap. But I’ve signed up for a free seven day trial of Mindmapping software and I love it.

2. Get Professional Help: And no, I’m not suggesting a therapist. If you’re serious about enhancing your creativity, why not try a couple of sessions with a professional creativity coach like Davina Haisell? She is one of the most creative people I know and until 31st July, she is offering a free 30 minute telephone consultation.

3. Freewriting: I love freewriting, as it enables you to generate great ideas in a short space of time. You can use many different techniques and if you’ve never tried it before, I recommend learning about Morning Pages, in The Complete Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice.

Mark Levy has just re-released his popular book on freewriting. I love his blog and Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content, is at the top of my wishlist.

4. More Awesome Ideas: From Astral Travel to online games, you’re sure to find some great ways to enhance your creativity in this post: 27 Ways To Fuel Your Imagination And Come Up With Great Ideas.

Do you hate buzz phrases like “thinking out of the box”? Which other jargon words and phrases bug you?

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So What Is This Stupid Box In Your Head?

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14 Responses to “Thinking Out Of The Box For The Clueless & Misguided”

  1. Betsy Wuebker on July 25th, 2010 2:35 pm

    Hi Cath – I appreciated the reminder to think beyond the self-constructed box about the first 5000 times I heard it, but, like “pushing the envelope,” the phrase is way over-used. I remember the first time I heard “it is what it is.” WTF does that even mean? Now I use it – I know! – because it has been used so much that I think I must kinda know what it means. Usually people nod sagely in agreement when I utter it, so it must establish a vaguely phony but acceptable commonality. So it must be one of those builder phrases people latch onto without really thinking about what they’re specifically saying. I am really tired of those woo-woo inspirational generic office pictures, too. Waves crashing and admonitions to soar with the eagles. Ick. Don’t do that!
    Betsy Wuebker\’s latest awesome post..Knowing What We Know NowMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Jannie Funster on July 25th, 2010 5:46 pm

    How cool, great links to jump-start ideas. Davina rocks!!

    We all are born to be creative, and when we are making stuff that wasn’t there before it’s a great feeling indeed.

    The buzz phrase that bugs me is “at the end of the day.” What if’s it’s actually mid-morning or afternoon when something is accomplished. Why always at the END of the day. ?

    Jannie Funster\’s latest awesome post..How To Hide Unsightly CablesMy ComLuv Profile

  3. J.D. Meier on July 26th, 2010 6:41 am

    I’m a regular Mind Mapper and it’s one of my most effective tools for brain dumping, brainstorming, and organizing information.
    J.D. Meier\’s latest awesome post..Lessons Learned from Dr K on Interpersonal Skills and the Art of PersuasionMy ComLuv Profile

  4. cathlawson on July 26th, 2010 8:00 am

    LOL Betsy – When you hear a phrase so much, it’s easy to get into the habit of using it. Now I’m embarrassed. I used to have one of those motivational pictures on my office wall. It’s not on the wall any more but I still have it. It’s a pic of a lake and some mountains and it says GOALS – However Long It Takes – The End Result Is Always Worth The Effort. I just got it from some office supply magazine to make the place prettier but I think it will go on Ebay, as it wouldn’t look so great in my house.

  5. cathlawson on July 26th, 2010 8:03 am

    Hi Jannie – Davina is awesome and I’m glad she’s narrowing her focus to creativity coaching, cos that’s where she excels. I’m hoping she will be able to get me to keep on writing, when the nasty winter darkness comes round.

    LOL – “at the end of the day” is so hackneyed isn’t it. I keep writing it back accident and going back and editing it out.

  6. cathlawson on July 26th, 2010 8:05 am

    Hi JD – It’s so useful isn’t it. I bet you use software to do it to. I’m finding it even more addictive since I downloaded the software as it is so quick to do

  7. Davina on July 27th, 2010 2:57 am

    LOL, Cath.

    “Thinking outside the box” used to be a clever metaphor. Now, it seems that for some people it’s more like putting a set of training wheels on Lance Armstrong’s bike, lol. We get it; enough already, right?

    However, I still use this phrase because it’s something I’ve become accustomed to. Personally, when I hear “thinking outside the box” I feel ready to take off and do some brainstorming or get creative; like a racer would hear a starter’s pistol. “The end of the day” is one phrase that bugs me these days; “going forward” and “from the bottom of my heart” are also on that list.

    Thanks for the plug… wait… that’s another phrase that bugs me, lol. Thanks Cath; appreciate it.
    Davina\’s latest awesome post..Oh- NothingMy ComLuv Profile

  8. Patricia on July 27th, 2010 3:51 am

    Davina has certainly helped my creative energies flow while I have been healing and had to stay still….good points and actions here
    Thank you.

    I’m raring to go….need that mind mapping thingy too! sounds great
    Patricia\’s latest awesome post..Stopping to Smell the FlowersMy ComLuv Profile

  9. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 5:16 am

    LOL Davina, I like the comparison with Lance Armstrong’s bike. And I guess it’s great if the phrase motivates you. “Going forward” irritates me too. And “from the bottom of my heart” sounds so tacky and insincere.

  10. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 5:19 am

    That is brilliant Patricia – Davina is awesome. BTW – the mind mapping thingy is very addictive. I just thought I’d use the trial for a week but I don’t think I’m going to be able to give it up.

  11. Hilary on July 27th, 2010 6:13 am

    Hi Cath .. love those ideas .. and must be back to check them out – once i’ve moved and settled .. I have so many ideas floating around – it’ll be good to get them sorted and able to see the wood for the trees.

    Thanks .. have a good week .. Hilary
    Hilary\’s latest awesome post..Could this be a sitcom – or a break out sitcom Ever had a one word – at a time – conversation Fish and Chips – how do you spell itMy ComLuv Profile

  12. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 7:12 am

    Hi Hilary – it’s great that you’ve got lots of ideas already. I’m finding the mindmapping tool useful for getting them into some order. And of course, you can also do your mindmaps by hand.

  13. Alien Ghost on August 8th, 2010 7:54 pm

    Hi Cath,

    Creativity and fast thinking, as you mention, can be cultivated.

    Some years ago with my son we started to watch “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ for the fun that it is; then we watched other movies and did the same thing when the movie was boring.

    Today we can joke pretty fast about many things and we always have a great time together.

    Alien Ghost\’s latest awesome post..The Problem With LifeMy ComLuv Profile

  14. cathlawson on August 11th, 2010 11:48 am

    Hi Raul – That is a great story. Now I need to check out Mystery Science Theatre 3000, to see what it is.

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