Thinking Outside of the Box

What does it mean to “think outside of the box?” 

“Thinking outside the box” is an expression that means to think about something in a unique or creative way. It’s about looking past the obvious and the ordinary to come up with new ideas and solutions. This is a helpful perspective not just in art, but in many other areas of life as well. 

Why is creativity important for YPAR issues/initiatives? 

The difficult issues that we face, both as individuals and as communities, often require creative and original ideasIn many cases, there have been previous attempts at solutions which failed for one reason or another. It is important to find new and different ways of thinking about these problems to make progress in helping our communities.  

What are some ways you can think more creatively?  

Here are some examples: 

1) Simplify 

Break the problem down into smaller parts. This wayyou can find the things you already know how to accomplish. If it helps, try to imagine a similar problem but on a much smaller scale. How might those smaller decisions apply to the larger problem? How might they be different? 

2) Ask “Why?” 

Another way to find interesting solutions is by imitating our old friendSocrates. The ancient Greek philosopher made a habit of asking people a simple question, “why?” Then, once the person had answered, he would respond to their answer with the same question, “why?” The goal, of course, is to keep asking until you get to the heart of the issue and learn the truth behind the original claimIf you keep digging away at even the most complicated ideas, eventually you will find thmost basic foundation and will be able to think of creative solutions. 

3) Solve a Puzzle 

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, try giving your brain a workout! Find any kind of puzzle, brain-teaser, or other challenge to get your mind working. These kinds of activities will engage the creative parts of your brain, helping to prepare them for whatever work is ahead of you. 

4) Turn things upside down 

No, seriously, turn whatever you’re looking at upside down. Our brains naturally get used to seeing things in particular wayso a sudden change in perspective can bring surprising results! 

5) Work backwards 

A good way to solve any kind of problem is to start at your intended destination and work backwards. Picture your end-goal, then bring it back towards the present, one step at a time. 

6) Express yourself 

Sometimes a picture can express what words cannot. Sometimes the best way to figure out what to write is to say it out loud. If you’re stuck in a rut, try expressing yourself through doodling, writing, or just talking things through. More often than not, it will help you think about the issue in a different way. 

7) Go for a walk 

Sometimes the best way to think outside of the box is to physically go outside of the box, whatever that means for you. If could be a walk in the park, a commute to work or school, or even just moving to another part of the house. Wherever you choose to go, moving your body helps your brain get moving too. Sometimes a little distance is all it takes to think about things in a completely different way. 

Prompt: What helps you think of creative ideas?

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