Home » Creativity » First you have to see the box.

First you have to see the box.

Sometimes there are ways to say things that don’t say anything at all. You can write a review of something and never really say if it is good or not. If you are really clever, you can spend your whole life doing this.

Or is it actually clever to not really say anything? Who are you fooling? Yourself, or your audience? Is it that you don’t know how you feel about your topic, or you are afraid of offending someone? It is all too common that someone will get offended by what you say, and if you say nothing offensive, they will continue to read what you have to say.

But both of you are wasting your time.

You could say that something is indescribable. Does that mean that you simply don’t have the words to describe it? Does it mean that you haven’t had the life experience necessary yet to describe it? Or does that mean that you aren’t brave enough to describe it? That to tell someone what you really think might make them angry at you? Might make them think differently of you?

You could say that something is incomparable, and you’d also be hedging your bets. Everything is comparable. You can compare everything to something else, if nothing else to say how much not like it the item is.

But both these words are used to make people think that something is really amazing, when it might be really nothing at all. It might be that it is so bland and boring that the author really couldn’t come up with words that were worthwhile.

The phrase “Think outside of the box” is getting cliché. It was cool for a while, but somebody needs to apply that thinking to the phrase itself and come up with something else.

We all need to think this way. We all need to take the box and tear it up and find a bucket. We need to see the box for what it is – we need to see how our language, our words, our culture, our society creates a box for us. We need to see the invisible walls that have been put on our understanding and our ways of doing things. We are taught from a very young age how to think and see and act, and those rules help us all live in community. But those rules and the overgeneralizations that occur from those rules always prevent us from seeing what really is there, and what can be there.

Artists challenge the status quo all the time. The only way you can create is to tap in to the great well of “what if?” and “why not?” You don’t have to paint to be an artist. I’m using “artist” in the biggest way possible. “Artist” means anyone who is creative – anyone who makes something different, brings some idea to life that wasn’t there before. You can be a musician or a writer or a dancer or in business or medicine. Your “art” doesn’t have to be physical. It can be a different way of thinking, of doing things.

Anais Nin said “We don’t see the world as it is. We see it as we are.”

Change yourself. Challenge yourself. Create.

And when I say “create” it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Often when I create I have no idea what is going to happen. I start off with some vague idea, some seed, and I give it a little bit of time and attention and it grows into something I didn’t expect. But that is the trick – be open to the idea. Be available to it. And give it time – work on it. Welcome it. You and the world will both be better because of it.

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