Outside The Box Thinking: The Key To Creativity

Outside The Box Thinking

The modern person is a prisoner in a box…and the instructions for getting out are written on the outside. ~ G.I. Gurdjieff


When I first read this, it left me pretty depressed. I remember thinking: Well, hell! How am I going to get outside the box if the instructions are written on the outside?

You know, I went to John Wayne University , where I had to learn to flunk out - and I mean that literally - before I was able to reach out and ask for help. When I did,  I discovered that I could read the instructions to you and you can just as easily read them to me. 

And that's how things work best in life. We don't need to - and can ́t! - always do it alone! We don't always have to do everything ourselves! In the greater scheme of things, one and one quite often works out to more than two! 

What It Means To Live Inside The Box 

I bet you already know a lot of this. Still, let me go over it just to make sure we´re on the same page. 

Being inside the box has to do with fearfulness and stress. Every negative feeling or emotion stems from fear. Fear, in turn, causes limited effectiveness. It generates negative emotions in ourselves that can be picked up by the mirror neurons of those close by. Just as mirror neurons can help you achieve rapport, as we discussed before, they can tell others to stay away. 

When fear takes hold of our limbic system, it triggers a 70,000 year old fight, flight or freeze mechanism in our brains. A mechanism that has us holding our breath or breathing shallowly as a perceived danger threatens to overtake us. 

As a result, our limbic system kicks into overprotective mode, exaggerating things out of proportion, convincing us that our very survival is on the line. In turn, we pull back into reactive mode - you know, the drama act we used to pull from when we were children. For example, I tend to go very quiet as I try to understand a situation and figure out the most appropriate move for me to make. And, while that's a pretty sound strategy overall, when I overuse it, I tend to miss out on a lot of opportunities. 

What It Means To Live Outside The Box 

Okay, let's talk about being outside the box. What do you think that feels like? 

Have you ever heard people talking about being in the zone? Perhaps you even experience it yourself, now and again. 

When you are outside the box, you are in the flow. You are...

  • inspiring and inspired
  • loving and connected
  • free! 

Outside the box is where your intuition resides. And it is where your creativity soars!  

Unfortunately though, we are not always outside the box, are we?


About the Author William Holt

William Holt is the go-to coach and trainer for executives & professionals wanting to transition to coaching as a way of sharing their professional expertise with the world. He is also an international speaker, author and the creator of the revolutionary Holt Coaching Certification Method.

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